Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
THREE traffic police officers on Thursday appeared in court for allegedly soliciting and receiving a $195 bribe from the driver of a vehicle they had impounded.
Innocent Nduna (30), Prosper Takawira (24) and Abel Nyongani (24) from Harare Central Police Station were charged with extortion when they appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe.
They were denied bail and remanded in custody to April 1. Allegations are that on March 12, the three were on an operation called “Mushika shika wapera”, performing traffic duties in Harare Central Business District.
The court heard that the three, in the company of an accomplice who is yet to be identified, approached the driver of a Honda CR-V vehicle who was dropping off a passenger at the corner of Robert Mugabe Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way.
It is alleged that Nyongani informed the driver that he was under arrest for disobeying traffic regulations – dangerous parking and carrying passengers without a valid road service permit. Nyongani, the court heard, took possession of the ignition keys and threatened to impound his vehicle and advised Nduna and Takawira that the driver could only be released on condition that he pays $195.
It is alleged that the three got into the car and drove to Chikurubi Maximum Prision complex, threatening to impound complainant’s vehicle. While at Chikurubi, it is alleged that driver was shown some of the impounded vehicles and told that his car was going to be kept there.
The court heard that the driver called his boss and advised him that he needed some money. The complainant, it is alleged, received money through EcoCash from his boss and withdrew it before handing it over to the trio. After payment, it is alleged that the three were dropped off in town and the complainant proceeded to Police General Headquarters and lodged a complaint .
The court heard that on March 15, an identification parade was conducted a Harare Central Police Station and the complainant positively identified Nduna and Takawira. The following day the complainant identified Nyongani.
The complainant lost $195, and nothing was recovered.