Fungai Lupande Senior Court Reporter
The trial date of five police officers accused of demanding and receiving a $200 bribe from an illegal foreign currency dealer for them not to seize her money during a blitz on illegal cash dealers was yesterday set for December 12.
The five, Victor Ruzvidzo (34), Evans Tafirenyika (41), Job Mukiwa (32), Kenneth Ndaramo (30) and Freeman Chabvonga (26) are facing criminal abuse of duty charges. They appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Gideon Kuvetsa. The five, who are on $30 bail each, are stationed at the Vehicle Theft Squad, CID Southerton, CID Residential, CID Chitungwiza and CID TFC, respectively.
They are represented by their lawyers Mr Tawanda Takaindisa and Ms Purity Chikangaise. The prosecutor Ms Linda Gadzikwa alleged that on October 9 this year, the five were deployed on operation “Dzosa Mari”, targeting illegal foreign currency dealers.
They subsequently apprehended the complainant, Abigail Siyamwaiwa, who was allegedly dealing in foreign currency at the intersection of Fifth Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare. Siyamwaiwa is understood to have informed Cleotilda Chamboko, who was the owner of the money, about the arrest.
It is the State’s case that Chamboko went to check on Siyamwaiwa, who was now in police custody at the intersection of Innez Terrace and Kenneth Kaunda Road at around 11am. The court heard that the accused asked Chamboko for $200 to be used to pay off the officers. It is alleged that Chamboko grudgingly handed over the $200 to Siyamwaiwa before proceeding to report the matter to the police.
Later, Chamboko, who was now in the company of officers from Harare Central, caught up with Ruzvidzo and Mukiwa at Amad House, where they had taken Siyamwaiwa. Chamboko positively identified the pair, leading to their arrest. The other three handed themselves over at Harare Central Police Station.