4 Hatfield traffic police officers yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court charged with demanding bribes from commuter omnibus drivers for their unhindered access into the city centre.
After collecting the alleged bribes, the said police officers would then hand over the cash to a nearby barber for safekeeping during their shift.
The four — Duncan Sokole (26), Prosper Tafadzwa Nzonzo (39), Hweson Daka (27) and Chris Mbofana (28) — were arrested on Tuesday while manning a roadblock and after giving $102 to the barber for safekeeping.
They appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo and were remanded out of custody to October 27 on $100 bail each.
In granting bail, Mapfumo said: “If you want to be tried out of custody, each of you should deposit $100 bail with the clerk of court, reside at your given addresses, report once a week on Fridays at CID Fraud Squad and not to interfere with investigations and State witnesses.”
According to the State, the four officers were in the habit of demanding bribes from commuter omnibus drivers, prompting police internal investigators to start probing them after receiving some reports.
“Sometime in September 2015, PGHQ (Police General Headquarters) Internal Investigations received information to the effect that police officers from Hatfield Police Station were soliciting and receiving bribes from public service vehicles at a roadblock manned at the intersection of Delport Avenue and Kilwinning Road,” the State papers said.
“Further information revealed that the police officers had recruited a barber who operated near the roadblock to safe-keep the bribes they received from commuter omnibus operators.”
The investigating team masqueraded as clients who wanted to have their hair shaved at the barber and witnessed the barber receiving money from the police officers at the roadblock.
When the barber was searched, he was found in possession of $102 and a list of vehicle registration numbers on his person and after being interrogated, he implicated the traffic officers, leading to their arrest.
The four were represented by Archibald Mugiya, while Sebastian Mutizirwa prosecuted.