Bogus cop behind the dock for extortion; court hears he used ZRP uniform and extort motorists

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By Paul Katanda

A 29-year-old man from Epworth was Monday dragged before the Harare magistrates courts charged with impersonation and extortion for allegedly extorting money from motorists while wearing a police uniform.

Luke Machonisa (29) appeared before Harare magistrate Evelyn Mashavakure and was remanded in custody to Tuesday for bail ruling.

Allegations are that on July 11 this year, Machonisa, who was in police uniform, stopped one John Davi Gerry at Prince Edward Street and accused the latter of disturbing Vice President Chiwenga’s motorcade.

Gerry was driving a Toyota Sprinter along Tongogara Avenue.

It is alleged Machonisa entered into the sprinter and extorted US$250 from Gerry while accusing him of being a member of the MDC or CCC party.

According to court papers, Machonisa allegedly detained Gerry for about 30 minutes and later released him near Commando Barracks in Harare.

Two days later, Machonisa and two of his accomplices who are still at large allegedly stopped Tafadzwa Pani who was driving a Diahatsu vehicle along Jason Moyo.

Machonisa and his gang allegedly accused Pani of flouting a traffic offence and also disturbing the motorcade.

Two of Machonisa’s accomplices allegedly produced their police identity cards and asked Pani to produce his driver’s licence, which he did.

The two accomplices left the vehicle and went into their Nissan Tidda while Machonisa left with Pani and ordered him to drive his vehicle to a police station, driving against traffic along Jason Moyo avenue, towards 4th street.

Along the way, Machonisa allegedly asked Pani to give him US$200 so that he will not be arrested, but Pani told him that he had no money on him.

Machonisa and Pani came across some police officers who were in Civilian attire, and they stopped the vehicle.

Upon seeing that the vehicle had been stopped Machonisa allegedly opened the door and he started running while Pani was shouting that he was a thief.

However, Machonisa did not get far as he was apprehended by the members of the public, who took him to Harare Central Police station.