Traffic cops arrested for demanding US$60 bribe; frustrated kombi operator reports them to their superiors

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

TWO Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers assigned to the traffic department were arrested Thursday following a trap by their superiors, who had earlier received a complaint they were demanding US$60 bribe from a motorist.

The money was allegedly for the duo to facilitate unhindered passage by the commuter omnibus operator, who plies the Chinhoyi-Harare route.

The duo, Desire Mangombe (30) and McDonald Tapesa (32) Friday appeared before Mashonaland West Provincial Magistrate, Langton Ndokera, facing abuse of office charges as defined in section 174 (i)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

They were released on ZW$15 000 bail each, coupled with stringent reporting conditions.

Trial has been set for October 5.

Complainant is the State, represented by Inspector Mukoko from Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) in Harare.

The State case, led by Clever Nyapfani, is that informant got a tip off from Tafadzwa Bvunzawabaya, who is manager at Wolfspack Transport Services which plies the Harare-Chinhoyi route, that he was being forced to bribe accused persons with US$60 every week.

This had allegedly been happening since January 2022.

The court heard on September 15, 2022, informant teamed up with five ZRP members with the rank of chief inspector, after applying for a trap certificate, and proceeded to Chinhoyi using the kombi.

The crack squad carried marked 2 x US$20 and 2 x US$10 notes for the mission to bust the suspects.

Upon reaching Chinhoyi, Bvunzawabaya got in touch with accused persons, who instructed him to drive to Chinhoyi Police Station and park within the yard.

As instructed by Tapesa, Bvunzawabaya then handed over the money to Mangombe.

A signal was raised leading to the immediate arrest of Mangombe, who was found in possession of the marked bank notes.

According to the charge sheet, the traffic officers acted contrary to, or inconsistent with, their duties as public officers for purposes of showing favour to Bvunzawabaya’s vehicle by allowing it free passage in Chinhoyi.