Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Motorists could still be losing cash to a syndicate of bogus cops that have been mounting illegal roadblocks using spikes in Harare, as some of the culprits are still on the run and police are yet to recover the spikes and deposit fine books they are using in committing the offences.
The syndicate involves former police officers who were discharged from the force for indiscipline and dishonesty, and civilians. Police have so far arrested seven suspects in connection with impersonating police officers or alternatively possessing articles for criminal use in recent weeks.
Five of them – four being former cops and a footballer – appeared in court last week, while two more former cops yesterday appeared before Ms Barbra Chimboza.
Carrington Marasha and Farai Mupundumani are facing charges of attempted armed robbery and impersonating a police officer.
They were remanded in custody and were advised to approach the High Court for bail application. Their alleged accomplice, Munyaradzi Tivaringe, alias Goliath, is still at large.
According to the State papers, the spike and the “Z69J” fine book are yet to be recovered. Marasha and Mupunduni were implicated by their alleged accomplices, Misheck Mburayi and Munesushe Mazarire, who have since appeared in court facing similar charges.
Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that on June 13, Mburayi, Mazarire, Tivaringe, Marasha and Mupundumani, armed with a metal spike and a ZRP deposit fine book (Z69J), proceeded to the intersection of Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Harare Street.
They allegedly masqueraded as traffic police officers in plain clothes and approached the driver of a Nissan Caravan who was picking up passengers.
One of the accused persons allegedly placed the spike in front of the kombi’s right wheel before informing the driver that he was under arrest for picking up passengers at an undesignated point.
It is the State’s case that the gang ordered all passengers to disembark from the commuter omnibus before informing the driver that his vehicle had been impounded.
They got into the kombi and ordered the complainant to drive to Harare Central Police Station.
The complainant, the court heard, became suspicious and refused to comply with their orders. He ordered the bogus cops to produce their identity cards, but they failed to do so.
One of the suspects grabbed him and demanded the keys of the kombi, but the he managed to switch off the engine and disembarked with the gang following him.
Sensing danger, the complainant alerted rank marshals who teamed up and began assaulting the suspected bogus cops, the court heard. The gang fled the scene in different directions.
When Mazarire was arrested, police searched his house and recovered a full set of police uniforms, two batons, handcuffs, 12 copies of blank ZRP Form 234, 10 copies of ZRP Form 11 and six copies of Form 66.
Marasha and Mupundumani were later arrested with the assistance of members of the public.