Bribe-demanding cops in the dock

From Tawanda Mangoma in CHIREDZI
Two policemen attached to the Minerals and Border Control Unit in Chiredzi have been arraigned before the courts facing charges of abuse of office and demanding bribes from cross-border traders.

The duo — Tenson Chipembere and Cleopas Nhamburo — appeared before a Chiredzi magistrate last week for demanding a bribe from Samuel Moyo to facilitate his impounded vehicle. Prosecutor Mrs Chiedza Muhwandavaka told the court that on December 29 last year, Chipembere and Nhamburo, both policemen in Chiredzi impounded Moyo’s vehicle, which was carrying smuggled goods.

“On the 29th of December 2016 the complainant’s motor vehicle a Benz Sprinter registration number ABQ5610 towing trailer ACZ 3058 was coming from South Africa being driven by Dogen Patsikwa. The motor vehicle was carrying various grocery items when it was stopped by the two accused persons at Chisase Business Centre. Also in the company of accused person was Constable Tinashe Chapungu of Minerals and Border Control Unit,” Mrs Muhwandavaka said.

The State further alleged that the policemen ordered the driver to take the kombi to the police station since it was carrying undeclared goods.

“While at ZRP Chiredzi, Constable Tinashe Chapungu received $50 in his EcoCash account number 0774707323 from complainant’s EcoCash number 0772 270375, approval code pp161229.0147C00147. The complainant, Samuel Moyo, then phoned Constable Tinashe Chapungu instructing him to release this motor vehicle. This prompted Constable Tinashe Chapungu to make an official report against the complainant at ZRP Chiredzi and the case was investigated separately,” she said.

Moyo, during the investigations, however, revealed that he had been previously depositing money in the accused person’s accounts. The money amounted to $302 from transactions retrieved from Moyo’s account statement. The policemen denied the charges through their lawyer Mr Norman Mugiya of Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers. Mr Mugiya accused Moyo of operating to please the investigating officer, Detective Ishmael Zireva, who was handling the case.

“We attach hereto a copy of the unsigned statement attributed to the complainant. The complainant never wrote a police statement,” Mr Mugiya said.

He charged that Moyo was being used in a vindictive war between the policemen and investigating officers. The trial continues on November 27.

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