Lockdown: Cop up for demanding bribe from man taking sick mom to hospital

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By Tonderai Saharo

A Masvingo police officer deployed at a roadblock meant to enforce compliance during the national lockdown was arrested Tuesday after allegedly demanding a $50 bribe to give passage to a motorist who was ferrying his sick mother to the hospital.

Constable Tatenda Mtigwa was not asked to plead when he appeared before a Masvingo magistrate on Tuesday.

He is accused of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

Mtigwa was remanded out of custody to 26 May on $100 bail.

Prosecutor Edmond Mapope told court that Constable Mtigwa was deployed on operation COVID-19 lockdown roadblocks and was manning the Masvingo-Mbalabala road in the company of two other police officers and two soldiers.

Court heard that around at around 11 am, he stopped an unregistered vehicle driven by one Rangarirai Chikozho.

Chikozho was heading towards Masvingo city centre ferrying his sick mother to the hospital.

Court was further told that Mtigwa then asked if Chikozho had a document that permitted him to leave his home to which the latter said he had none.

Court heard that Mtigwa then instructed Chikozho to return to where he was coming from, but the driver pleaded with the officer to be allowed to continue with his journey as his mother needed medical attention.

It is further alleged that Mtigwa then demanded $50 bribe from the motorist to allow him passage and was given the money is five dollar notes.

The incident was observed by Mtigwa’s seniors, Superintendents Boyce and Mubwere  who were driving a marked police vehicle coming from the opposite direction.

On seeing the senior officers approaching him, Mtigwa quickly threw back the money into Chikozho’s car, but it was too late to conceal the crime as the alert senior officers had witnessed the entire transaction.

Chikozho was questioned and confessed to giving Mtigwa some.

The police officer was immediately arrested.