A police officer was hauled off a Harare-bound bus after he was found with several items donated to victims of Cyclone Idai in Manicaland.
Constable Edward Dhumukwa, 32, of Durban Road in Belvedere, Harare, was arrested on April 3 and found with several items of clothing, food and medicines which were destined to help survivors of a deadly cyclone which killed 344 people in March.
An internal police memo seen by ZimLive says Dhumukwa flagged down an Inter Africa bus at Jopa bus stop in Chipinge and then offloaded from a white commuter omnibus seven white sacks, one red bag and one large black bag containing various goods which he loaded into the bus intending to go to Harare.
Police in Rusape were tipped-off about a passenger with suspicious luggage, and the bus was intercepted at the Rusape tollgate where it was commandeered to Rusape Police Station.
A search was conducted and police found donated items including 26 pairs of female shoes, 10 double blade shaving machines, seven jackets, eight blankets and large quantities of toothpaste, moisturisers, rice, cooking oil, bathing soap, candles, washing powder, shoe polish, salt, sugar beans, kapenta and tissues.
“Constable Dhumukwa is currently deployed at the Cyclone Idai base at Silver Stream in Chimanimani on relief and aid duties. He was supposed to be at Silver Stream on duty according to his command at ZRP Support Unit Changadzi,” the police memo says.
Dhumukwa told investigators that he had bought the goods from people “he can no longer identify in Chimanimani,” police say.
Constable Dhumukwa appeared before a Rusape magistrate charged with theft on Friday.
Zimbabweans led the relief mobilisation efforts after the cyclone devastated Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, killing hundreds and destroying homes.
Several foreign countries have also sent aid, but fears abound that some of the aid is not reaching its intended recipients amid reports of corruption and political interference in the distribution process.