11 cops arrested in botched extortion bid

Crime Reporter

ELEVEN constables from different police stations, were last week arrested in Borrowdale while trying to extort money from a businessman they accused of illegally dealing in foreign currency and gold.

One of the 11 was on suspension for misconduct, but had just been roped in to execute the plan. The gang reportedly stormed the premises of Mr Vaya Sanjay Keshavji (48) in Borrowdale on Thursday afternoon, while driving in two unregistered vehicles.

The 11 are: Tafadzwa Chidawa (31) who is currently on suspension, Prosper Chimbumu (28), John Gwinyai Matandaware (34), Thomas Nyika (35), Archby Mano (26), Daniel Mwanadi (31), Simbarashe Ndungwa (31), Doit Kunyumbe (33), Levison Nhongo (34), Walter Mapfumo (30) and Francis Kudzai Munatswa (25).

Three of them were wearing riot police uniform while eight were in plain clothes.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was still checking the details of the case.

Sources close to the investigations yesterday said on Thursday at around 1400 hours, the 11 teamed up and went the premises while driving in two unregistered vehicles, a Black Nissan Caravan and a cream Nissan Sunny.

They reportedly introduced themselves as officers from Harare Central operations section.

They allegedly indicated to him that they had received information that he was illegally dealing in gold and foreign currency before demanding to see documentation authorising him to operate.

It is alleged that the businessman became suspicious and told the suspects to remain at the reception before he went into his office where he alerted the police.

A reaction team comprising of a strong team from the Criminal Investigations Department and Support Unit then swooped in where they arrested the 11.

The 11 policeman contended that they had received information from Chidawa that there was a person who was dealing in ivory in the CBD. They then reacted to the information using Chidawa’s vehicle and made a follow up to the businessman’s premises.

According to police, the 11 further alleged that they demanded to carry out a search within the businessman’s premises, but they were prevented from doing so.

The matter is being investigated under case number RRB 4105407.

Police investigations established that there was no special operation of that nature and that the team had not been assigned to investigate the case. It was also established that the businessman had all the relevant papers needed to trade in gold.

The 11 are likely to be charged with extortion and face disciplinary action for the conduct.

Chidawa was stationed at ZRP Highlands, Chimbumu (ZRP Harare Central Operations), Matandaware (ZRP Harare Central Patrol Unit), Nyika (ZRP Harare Magistrates’ Court), Mano (ZRP Harare Central Operations), Mwanadi (ZRP Warren Park attached, but Harare Central Operations), Ndungwa (ZRP Harare Central Operations), Kunyumbe (ZRP Harare Central Pec Admin, but on suspension), Nhongo (ZRP Harare CBD Traffic), Mapfumo (ZRP Harare Central Operations) and Munatswa (ZRP Harare Central Patrol Unit).

Investigations are still in progress.

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