By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
FOUR people, including a police officer, and a special constabulary member have appeared before a Chinhoyi magistrate facing two counts of extorting US$110 from a shebeen owner.
The quartet, which includes the police officer, Shingirai Chirinda (27), Emma Chishiri (47) a special constabulary, Victor Chishiri (23), and Cosmas Chingwaru (age not given), was arraigned before Chinhoyi provincial magistrate Ranga Rwizi, charged with extortion.
Chirinda pleaded not guilty, while his accomplices pleaded guilty to the charge.
Chirinda’s three accomplices were fined $8 000 each, while Chirinda was granted $1 000 bail and will appear again in court on September 28 when trial is expected to start.
Prosecuting, Nyasha Sibesha told the court that on August 28 this year, the four accused persons and two others who are still at large, connived and went to Blessing Mbundire’s home at Angwa on the outskirts of Chinhoyi.
It is alleged Chirinda and Chishiri were putting on police uniforms and driving in a Toyota Spacio.
On arrival at Mbundire’s house around 8 pm, they found some patrons drinking beer at a tuck-shop which was still open, in violation of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
Chirinda told Mbundire and the imbibers that they were under arrest for failing to comply with Covid-19 lockdown rules.
They demanded US$100 in order to leave Mbundire and his patrons. The extortionists were given US$100.
The accused persons went on to load some groceries from the complainant’s tuck-shop into their vehicle and stated Mbundire would recover them at Chinhoyi Central Police Station.
Mbundire later reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of the quartet.
Grocery worth US$1 470 was recovered.
On the second count, on the same day, and at Angwa farm, Mercy Mukandawire (30) was on her way to the bathroom when she met the accused persons.
They identified themselves as police officers enforcing Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
They told Mukandawire that she was under arrest for breaching Covid-19 regulations stating that she was loitering after 8 pm, which is prohibited.
She then pleaded with the accused persons to free her, but they demanded US$10.
Mukandawire went into her house and took US$10, which she gave to them in order to be freed.