Four police officers have been arrested and charged with armed robbery after seizing US$12,500 from a farmer at gunpoint.
Constables Milton Murairwa, Chinoda Chinoda, Tichafara Gundani and Dennis Ngirandi – all of ZRP Mbare – teamed up with two civilians to storm the home of Albert Mubaiwa in Harare’s Waterfalls suburb.
The 35-year-old Mubaiwa was not home when the four police officers and two other men, one identified only as Mabhanan’ana, scaled over the perimeter wall and entered the Mainway Meadows property at around 1PM on January 23.
Mubaiwa was called to rush home by one of the occupants inside the property, who locked herself inside one of the bedrooms.
Police say the men introduced themselves to Mubaiwa as Central Intelligence Organisation and Military Intelligence operatives, before accusing him of being in illegal possession of fertilizer meant for the government’s Command Agriculture scheme.
“The complainant confirmed that he was in possession of 27 tonnes of fertilizers from Command Agriculture and that the fertilizers had all the relevant papers,” an internal police memo seen by ZimLive says.
The four police officers are alleged to have assaulted Mubaiwa and another individual who was in the house with a horse pipe, demanding US$30,000.
Terrified, Mubaiwa handed over US$4,500 which was in the dashboard of his car. The men demanded more money, prompting Mubaiwa to call his friend Edmore Chipuriro who delivered another US$8,000.
Police say Mubaiwa initiated a private investigation, using the vehicle registration of a Mercedes Benz in which the men drove off, and discovered that it was registered to Constable Murairwa.
Mubaiwa also managed to track down the man only identified as Mabhanan’ana, who promised to gather his team to return the money after refunding him for just US$50 which he said was all he was left with.
Armed robbery cases involving police officers and other members of the security forces are on the rise, fuelled by growing indiscipline and poor pay.