Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
A 31-year-old police officer stationed at Beitbridge Border Post was yesterday fined $500 for using a counterfeit receipt book to collect fines from undocumented immigrants coming into the country. Illegal immigrants who enter the country are fined $10 or R100 for entry by evasion under the provisions of the Immigration Act.
Define Ndere of House Number 1127 Medium Density in the border town had initially been jointly charged with her workmate Tendai Machanzi of House Number 982 in the same suburb, who was later acquitted following a fully contested trial. Through her lawyer, Patrick Tererai of Tererai Legal Practice, Ndere pleaded not guilty when the trial opened before magistrate Mr Innocent Bepura but was convicted on the strength of overwhelming evidence.
She was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment with an option of paying $500 in fine and the five months were further suspended for five years.
Prosecutor Mr Muchiwande Sithole told the court that the pair was deployed to the police post within the border. He said on March 29, they commenced duty at around 11pm where Machanzi was the officer-in-charge and he received nine Z69 (J) police receipt books during hand over and takeover of office from the previous shift leader.
The accused persons were working at the police post where among others their duties included receipting of deposit fines from offenders. Mr Sithole said at around 2355 hours, one Assistant Inspector Hilary Sibanda and Chief Inspector Godwin Mutanga arrived at the police post on an anti-corruption spot check.
The court further heard that Sibanda noticed that Ndere was using two Z69 (J) books to receipt deposit fines prompting him to enquire. Ndere then indicated that she had been given both books by Machanzi who was the officer-in-charge.
Sibanda then checked both books and discovered that they had serial numbers 103/15 with receipt serial numbers ranging from 0690201 to 0690250 and that Ndere had receipted R6200 from serial numbers 0690201 to 0690231. On the other receipt book Ndere had receipted R10 000 and the book was filled up. Further checks revealed that Machanzi had witnessed all the receipts and that the same book was completed on all portions except on the names of the persons only.
Sibanda then called Mutanga and more investigations were carried out. Machanzi was requested to produce all the receipt books he had received from the previous shift. Instead of nine, the accused brought in 10 books. It was then established that the original book with serial numbers 0690201 to 0690250 was Beitbridge Urban Book number 95/15, filled up on 28 March and that the same book was also on the Beitbridge police official records.
Further interrogations revealed that the receipt book 103/15 which the accused persons were using, was fake and had no matching police features. The duo was in turn arrested and both the original and counterfeit books were recovered along with the R6200. The State suffered a prejudice of R3800 in revenue.