THIRTEEN police officers in Bulawayo were arrested for allegedly soliciting and accepting a US$10 bribe from a commuter omnibus crew, which had allegedly violated lockdown regulations following the interception of their vehicle in the central business district.
The accused persons who are all stationed at Bulawayo Central Police Station, were arrested by a Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zaac) team after an unidentified whistle-blower captured them on video while they were allegedly receiving the bribe before posting it on social media where it is now circulating.
Constables Mathias Siziba (29) of Mpopoma, Everisto Choto (30) of Mzilikazi, Sithabile Mthombeni (37) of Entumbane, Reason Mabhena (32) of Pumula South, Annastancia Nkomo (31) of ZRP Ross Camp, Witness Ndlovu (31) of ZRP Mabutweni Camp, Admire Chimunda (33) of ZRP Nkulumane Camp, Isaiah Siziba (30) of Nketa, Felix Ndawana (28) of Nkulumane, Blessing Maranke (26) of ZRP Stops Hostels Ross Camp, Nation Gilson (35) of ZRP Sauerstown, Shepherd Ndlovu (34) Mzilikazi and Reuben Mugundu (31) of Sizinda were arrested on Tuesday.
They appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya yesterday facing bribery charges.
They were remanded out of custody to May 8 on their own cognisance.
The prosecutor, Mr Terrence Chakabuda said on March 30 at around 8AM, the accused persons were patrolling the streets of Bulawayo’s central business district where they were controlling the movement of both human and vehicular traffic during the Covid-19 lockdown when they intercepted a Mercedes Benz Sprinter at the intersection of Josiah Tongogara Street and 4th Avenue.
“They blocked and stopped a commuter omnibus and demanded bribes from the crew for allegedly disregarding lockdown regulations,” said Mr Chakabuda.
The court heard that the unsuspecting cops were captured on video by a whistle-blower while allegedly receiving the US$10 from one Thulani Ndlela.
“The incident was recorded using an unknown gadget by an unknown person who in turn posted the video clip on social media and it went viral,” said Mr Chakabuda.
Investigations were carried out leading to the arrest of the accused persons.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said anyone who sees cops soliciting for bribes should inform the police to ensure the arrest of corrupt officers.
He said the police command will continue to monitor the officers on the ground to curb acts of corruption.
“Bribery is a serious offence and we do not condone corruption in our rank and file. All those found on the wrong side of the law will be arrested,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The police have been enforcing the 21-day lockdown which has seen nearly 2 000 people being arrested countrywide for defying the stay-at-home order.