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Traffic blitz enriches corrupt cops

Traffic blitz enriches corrupt cop






Rogue police officers have taken advantage of the ongoing blitz dubbed “Tame the Traffic Jungle” to take bribes from desperate motorists, Zimhub Info has learnt.



Investigations this week show that while the police were intensifying the blitz that has so far seen over 500 drivers arrested for operating without road permits, at least 250 for reckless driving and over 7000 for operating pirate taxis, some details have been soliciting and receiving bribes ranging between US$5 to US$10, even more for serious offences.


Over 19000 have been arrested for various offences under the operation that has seen police collaborating with local authorities and various arms of government to restore order in the city that they say had become a “jungle” to lawlessness mainly exhibited by motorists.


Zimhub Info witnessed several cases where police received bribes in different parts of Harare including the central business district, Warren Park suburb, along Chiremba Road, Kambuzuma and other areas.


Along Chiremba road, one of our reporters took time to observe and captured on camera the police officers in action taking bribes from motorists.


Two police officers manned what appeared to be a suspicious roadblock close to OK Mart and upon stopping the vehicles, the two took turns to direct motorists to a nearby post where they placed the bribe money as the cops avoided being caught with cash in their pockets as it constitutes a criminal offense.


A quick check by our reporter showed that the drivers would hide the money behind huge stones as directed by the police officers who would later collect the money at the end of the shift.


In a space of 20 minutes, over five people had visited the “cashbox” to deposit money.


Evidently, even ramshackle commuter omnibuses were allowed passage despite the condition of their vehicles.


It later emerged the operators would have paid different amounts of money to the police manning roadblocks for them to be allowed a day’s shift unhindered.


This also happened in several parts of the city where motorists, in separate interviews confirmed the deed.


One of the reporters witnessed cops demanding bribes in Kambuzuma, close to Thuli Service station.


“Our vehicle was flagged down by two police officers who claimed the vehicle was overloaded. We were four in the back and two in the front seat, the driver being the third. The driver went out, briefly spoke to the police officers, came back to collect money then went back to them again,” the witness said.


“After paying, we proceeded with our journey as if nothing had happened,” she added.


The police have also devised a new trick to avoid being caught with bribe money by their superiors through working in cahoots with some kombi crews and taxi drivers who will pass on the loot to them after duty.



Also in the scheme are airtime and newspaper vendors operating within their vicinity who were used to keep safe money clandestinely collected from errant kombi crews in case their bosses pounce on them.


Another act of corruption was seen along Harare-Bulawayo Road in Warren Park where police, who were supposed to be executing the blitz were heard soliciting for bribes.


Victims of the bribe-taking cops included unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles who were allowed passage after paying.


“I was driving a vehicle without the ZINARA license so I argued with them that I could not spare any money to give them since I was already on my way to pay. One of them forced himself in my car and I offered US$10 and I was allowed to pass,” one of the victims said.


This is not the first time police have been involved in corrupt activities.


In 2014, a police sergeant based at Mazowe Police Station was found dead in a suspected case of suicide after he failed to account for cash recovered from his car at a roadblock along Harare-Bindura highway during a spot-check by one of his superiors.


Six police officers were arrested in Epworth in 2016 after they were caught with unaccounted for cash by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).


National Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the long arm of the law will catch up with all bribe-seeking cops and bribe-offering motorists.


“We are monitoring the situation and if there are police officers asking for bribes, if they are members of the public, especially motorists who are offering bribes, we will effect arrests.”

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