By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
26 March 2014
Relatives of Simbarashe Muchengeti, an alleged gold dealer and robbery suspect who police say shot himself dead in custody, are not convinced he took his own life.
Instead they believe he was murdered in a ‘deal gone wrong’ by one of the police officers who interrogated him at Shurugwi police station. In an interview with our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme on the Hidden Story program, a relative explained that Muchengeti was not what the police claim he was. He was a businessman, according to his family.
An accountant by profession the late Muchengeti had set up a mining company after buying some concessions recently. He had also resigned from his full-time job and relocated to Shurugwi were he was running an accounting consultancy firm apart from his interests in mining.
The relative who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said contrary to reports that he had been arrested and brought to the station, Muchengeti surrendered himself to the authorities.
‘They went looking for him at his house and he was not there. When he got home he heard that police came looking for him and that he should report to the police which he did.
‘When he got there he was immediately arrested and put into custody. He was able to communicate his arrest to his mother who lives near the station and who visited him in the morning. It was late in the afternoon when she went back to see him again that she was told he had shot himself,’ the relative said.
He said nothing is making sense to them: ‘We believe before they put him in custody they did a thorough body search on him and took away his shoes, belt and wallet. He was actually handcuffed and to suggest that a man in handcuffs may smuggle a gun into a toilet is just preposterous,’ he said.
His family said they are demanding a full investigation by the police or an independent body to look at circumstances that transpired before and after the shooting.