TWO CID detectives who demanded a US$3,000 bribe from a suspected thief have been jailed for three-and-half years each by a Gweru magistrate.
Jefrey Ngiza, 29, and Nqobile Mangena, 29, denied misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice, but they were convicted of the crime by Gweru magistrate Phathekile Msipa on Friday.
The magistrate originally jailed the pair for five years, but conditionally suspended a year. A further five months were suspended on condition they pay US$875 restitution by July 31.
The magistrate told the two police officers they had betrayed the trust placed in them by the public.
"You were entrusted and empowered by the constitution to bring those who commit crimes to court but you abused that trust for selfish reasons,” Msipa said before sentencing.
“Only a custodial sentence is justified in such circumstances to deter like-minded people from committing acts of corruption.”
The court heard that on August 30, 2010, the two police officers arrested Regiment Mugonero for allegedly stealing 80 bales of cotton in Gokwe.
They demanded $3,000 from Mugonero to facilitate his release from police custody and stop the arrest of his accomplices.
Mugonero paid them $1,500.
Mangena and Ngiza, the court heard, kept demanding settlement of the balance and Mugonero deposited $250 into Ngiza’s Ecocash account in February this year.
But tired of the harassment, the confessed thief walked into a police station and poured his heart out, leading to the arrest of the two officers.
Mangena and Ngiza, who were represented by lawyer Evidence Gonese, maintained during the trial that they were being framed.
Gonese said they would appeal against both conviction and sentence.