A SENIOR cop allegedly raped a 16-year-old suspect who was in police custody at Madlambuzi Police Station in Bulilima and tried to buy her silence with R50.
Assistant Inspector Moffat Mugande reportedly further threatened the juvenile with life imprisonment if she reported the matter.
The teenager and her grandmother had been arrested in a case of food poisoning which resulted in their neighbours being rushed to hospital.
The police officer allegedly called the girl, who was being held with her 60-year-old grandmother at the charge office, in the middle of the night under the pretext of recording a statement.
Sources close to investigations said Mugande led the teen out of the police station to a secluded place where he raped her.
Mugande, the source added, was arrested on Friday last week and spent the weekend in cells at Plumtree Police Station.
“He was due to appear at the Plumtree Magistrate’s Court facing rape charges but the matter was placed on hold pending further investigations,” said the source.
The juvenile who cannot be named for ethical reasons but stays in Masendu area said Ass Insp Mugande raped her near a dam close to Madlambuzi Police Station.
“I was picked up along with my grandmother for questioning on June 29 in connection with a case of food poisoning which involved our neighbours. We slept at the police station and around 9PM Mugande woke us up and told us that he needed to record statements from us. We asked why since we had already given our statements and he said it was procedure.
“He first summoned my grandmother who returned shortly. He then escorted me out of the gate of the police station and led me to the dam and he raped me once and he gave me R50. The police officer told me that if I reported the matter I would rot in jail,” said the juvenile.
She said on the following morning she and her grandmother were released from police custody but she remained quiet about the matter.
The juvenile’s mother who also cannot be named for ethical reasons said the matter came to light after she found her daughter in possession of R50.
She said she inquired from her daughter where she had got the money .
“My daughter refused to tell me the truth at first as she said she picked up the money. She later told me that she was raped by a police officer whom she identified as Mugande and that he gave her the money in order to buy her silence.
“I immediately reported the matter at the police station. My daughter went for a medical examination at the Plumtree District Hospital and the results showed that she was indeed raped. It is a relief that she was not infected with HIV or impregnated during the process,” said the mother.
The juvenile and her grandmother were taken in for questioning in a case of food poisoning. A Bulilima granny and her four grandchildren were hospitalised after consuming food they prepared using baking powder which they had collected from the juvenile’s grandmother.
Police Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday said he was not aware of the matter.