A total of 18 security officials drawn from members of the national security cluster were yesterday denied bail by a Beitbridge magistrate after they were arrested for taking a R2000 bribe from a cross-border bus crew member at a roadblock in the border town.
The team is part of the multi-discipline security team that is deployed to combat crime at the border with South Africa.
The gang was busted on Saturday afternoon by an anti-corruption team at a security checkpoint between Beitbridge Border Post and the Chicago area, along the Beitbridge-Masvingo highway.
Initially, the dragnet had busted 27 suspects but nine were let go following preliminary investigations.
The group, which is being represented by Mr Muchiwande Sithole, was denied bail by Beitbridge resident magistrate, Mr Takudzwa Gwazemba who remanded them in custody to March 29.
They are facing charges of criminal abuse of office and the magistrate ruled that the gang was not fit for bail after they tried to evade arrest at the crime scene.
The accused persons took to flight when one of them was arrested for taking the R2000 bribe but was later cornered by the anti-corruption police.
“Bail is denied considering that you are all security members who are fully aware of how the law works after an arrest. Initially, you evaded arrest at the alleged crime scene and hence you are a flight risk. You will be tried from custody,” said the magistrate.
The State led by Ms Tinayeishe Matenga and Mr Ronald Mugwagwa alleged that the crew was arrested by an anti-corruption unit following reports of corruption by road users.
A trap was set up on March 12 resulting in the accused persons’ arrest at a security checkpoint between Beitbridge town and Chicago village along the Beitbridge-Masvingo highway.
It is alleged that the team, acting on common purpose, stopped a Sable Class cross-border bus and demanded a bribe of R2000 to allow it to pass through unchecked.
One, Shepherd Mugomeza of the ZRP Support Unit (Lima Troop) was given R2000 by a bus crew member which was in R200 marked notes.
Unbeknown to the accused persons, there were the police’s anti-corruption detectives on board, who then rounded up the accused persons.
Some of the team members fled and hid in nearby bushes but were later cornered and arrested.
The R2000 bribe money and a 5-litre ‘pot’ (plastic container) they were using to keep the loot were recovered.
The accused persons include Juliet Raura (32) of ZRP Support Unit Hotel Troop Chikurubi, Trevor Chidemo (29) of ZRP Support Unit November Troop, Matseketsa Zvipozvashe (45) of ZRP Support unit Chikurubi, Berita Sokalikamba (37) ZRP Support Unit Chikurubi, Liberty Rutsate (32) the Environmental Health Officer at Beitbridge hospital, Gurumani Robert Paul (36) of Josiah Tungamirai Airforce base, Moreblessing Nyanhongo (30) ZNA Provost Coy, Patrick Chimbadzo (34)ZRP CID Rusape,Kudzai Muziki (32) ZRP Mat North PHQ, and Nyaku Tichareva of ZRP Beitbridge Traffic.
Others are, Tambudzai Parirehwa (45) of ZRP CID Rusape, Priscila Gosa (31) of ZRP Beitbridge Traffic, Bothwell Tsinda of ZRP Victoria Falls, Rodrick Kudemba (31) of Support Unit Chikurubi Rural, Givemore Charuma (30) of ZRP Support Unit Changadzi, Tafara Mandishona (36) of ZPCS Bindura Prison and Kevin Moyo (36) of ZRP Victoria Falls, Rodeck Kudemba of Support Unit Chikurubi Rural, Givemore Charuma of Birchenough Growth Point , Tafara Mandishona of Bindura, and Kevin Moyo of Phumula South in Bulawayo.