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Interpol pursuing two named Zim murderer

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A Zimbabwean suspect in the assassination of a high ranking former South African diplomat to Zimbabwe who is also facing three counts of false pretences in Botswana is out on bail.

According to the three counts 28-year-old Kevin Blaze of Harare obtained P17, 500 by falsely pretending to be the lawful owner of three credit cards.

He did these on different dates between February 22 and March 7, 2008 at Thapama Cresta Lodge in Francistown, whereas he was not the owner, and neither was he authorised to use the cards. The High Court has since granted Blaze bail.

On March 17 last year, Interpol Harare sent an urgent correspondence to their Gaborone counterparts the subject of which was Blaze alias Taurai Gasva. The correspondence said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Homicide in Zimbabwe was investigating a case in which Blaze abandoned his then one- year-old daughter at the South African embassy in Zimbabwe.

It was also alleged he was making death threats to his ex-fiancée’ s family in South Africa and the South African embassy personnel in Zimbabwe through phone calls. The circumstances of the case are that Blaze had a South African fiancée Chantal Sithole, the daughter of the late Kingsley Sithole, a former political counsellor at the South African embassy in Zimbabwe.

Kingsley Sithole was shot dead outside his newly purchased Midrand home, near Johannesburg on June 12, 2006. Interpol Harare wrote that it is suspected that Blaze was involved in the murder. Chantal bore two children whilst co-habiting with Blaze in Zimbabwe. Her family did not approve of the relationship and did not want anything to do with Blaze.

The two apparently had a prolonged domestic dispute when Chantal indicated her intention to relocate with the children to South Africa.Blaze apparently held Chantal hostage, hiding the children and her travel documents and denying her income, so that she would not be able to rejoin her family in South Africa. Interpol Harare alleged that during the period of hostage Chantal and the children received several death threats from Blaze.

“On 19 January, 2008, Chantal managed to escape from the apartment leaving the kids (sic) behind and proceeded to the embassy of South Africa where she presented her problems. The embassy assisted Chantal to travel to South Africa at her request.“

Upon realising that Chantal had fled to South Africa Kevin Blaze made numerous phone calls and text messages to the South African embassy staff demanding to know the whereabouts of his wife. He subsequently drove to the embassy and left his one-year-old daughter at the gate. Thereafter he made several phone calls to the embassy staff and Chantal’s mother who is in South Africa threatening them with death if they did not reveal where his fiancée is hiding,” wrote Interpol Harare.According to the correspondence Homicide Harare opened two charges against Blaze.

He is accused of contravening Section 4 as read with section 3 (1) (a) of the Domestic Violence Act and contravening section 7 (1) (a) of the Children’s Protection and Adoption Act Cap 5:06 Baby Dumping. The correspondence continued that Blaze was sending threats to the South African embassy personnel in Zimbabwe using computer Short Message Service (SMS) pretending to be sending the messages from the United Kingdom (UK) mobile.“He generates the UK mobile number from the computer. You are therefore requested to hold all his computer accessories and computers as exhibits so that he does not conceal the evidence requited for our case.”

The Botswana Police Service public relations officer assistant commissioner Christopher Mbulawa has confirmed that the Zimbabwean authorities have indeed shown interest in Blaze as a wanted person in their country charged with three counts. Although Interpol Harare has disclosed only two charged that Blaze is facing in Zimbabwe, Mbulawa said Blaze is accused of contravening C/S 186 of the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act (Threats).

“Communications between us and our Zimbabwean counterparts in this matter have been cordial and they have been updated on progress of the matter whenever there was need to do so.  The updating was done due to the fact that we were very aware that this fugitive was wanted there for criminal charges and they had indicated that they would like to request for his extradition,” said Mbulawa.  

He asserted that it should be noted that the fugitive was granted bail on August 13, 2008 for charges laid against him in Botswana but he was re-arrested on the same day on the basis of the warrant of arrest issued by Zimbabwean authorities for the aforementioned offences.He added,

“The accused person has been in custody since August 2008 until September 2009 which is more than a year. The foregoing reasons why he was let free or granted bail is that we did not receive any official request for his extradition from the Zimbabwean authorities.  Currently he has some cases pending before court in Francistown.”

The police PRO disclosed that the suspect is also wanted in South Africa as he is suspected to have murdered someone there.  “We are still waiting for the relevant documents for formal extradition request.  As at now the fugitive is on bail granted to him by our competent court. We are waiting for official extradition documents from Zimbabwe and South Africa.  We are told the matter is still being pursued by the Attorney General in Zimbabwe.”

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