Freeman Razemba –crime reporter
POLICE on Friday refused bribe offers from 23 motorists they caught for traffic offenses at a roadblock in Norton and arrested them for an additional crime of bribery.
The four-hour blitz in Norton along the Harare-Bulawayo highway ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and motorists offered bribes ranging from $2 to $10 each.
The 23 are expected to appear in court shortly.
National Police Spokesperson Deputy Commissioner yesterday confirmed the arrests.
“On June 10, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Norton Police arrested 23 suspects for corruption.
“The suspects were apprehended for various traffic offenses and attempted to offer bribes ranging from US$2 to US$10 to officers at a roadblock along the Harare-Bulawayo highway at the bollard 39 km,” he said.
He warned people against police corruption.
“This clearly shows that there are members of the public who are breaking the law and trying to bribe the police. We would like to warn them that they will be arrested and face the wrath of the law.
Harare barrister Mr Godfrey Mapaya applauded Norton Police for arresting the culprits.
“Offering a bribe to the police is a criminal offense and they must face the consequences of their action. Even the president himself does not like corrupt tendencies,” Mr Mapaya said.
The President of the Southern Africa Regional Anti-Corruption Organization (Saraco), Mr. Paddington Kadzungura has applauded the police for their resistance to corruption.
“We want to urge the public to refrain from precipitating corruption. Members of the public accuse the ZRP of being corrupt, but now it has emerged that they are also offering bribes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gwanda police arrested Prince Sibanda (27) and Abednico Ndlovu (31) for corruption.
The two, who are pirate taxi operators (mushikashika) were arrested separately after they attempted to each offer a R100 bribe to traffic police officers.
On June 6, 2022, members of the National Task Force deployed to Beitbridge as part of Operation No to Cross Border Crimes, also arrested Evidence Chionyere (37) for corruption at the Bubi roadblock along the road Masvingo-Beitbridge.
The suspect approached the roadblock driving a Toyota Hilux vehicle with foreign license plates and offered to pay the police a R70 bribe to evade arrest for unsecured loading as well only for having an invalid temporary import permit.
Last month a 27-year-old woman was arrested for trying to bribe police officers with R100 at a roadblock along the Masvingo-Beitbridge road while another man was arrested for smuggling a Toyota Hilux vehicle Double cab and a Toyota Hilux Single Cab vehicle in Plumtree as police step up operations against border crime and contraband.
Beitbridge’s wife, Patience Tafireyi, was a passenger in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter which had come from the border town.
Recently, Beitbridge Police also arrested 12 bus drivers for allegedly trying to bribe officers at a roadblock in Bubi, after they were found in possession of contraband goods.
Their buses were intercepted along the Beitbridge-Masvingo laden with smuggled goods from South Africa.
The drivers were arrested by the National Security Task Force attached to an operation dubbed “No to Cross-Border Crimes”, as their buses carried goods believed to have been smuggled into the country.
The 12 bus drivers were Proceed Mugadza (34), Mahiya Darlington (45), Titos Nyagara (55), Anyway Chizombe (39), Edmore Mavhiza (50), Blessing Gune (32), Previous Nyangoro (45), Laston Katsande ( 41), Elvis Mashira (34), Kudakwashe Ndlovu (42), Peter Muronza (34) and Onias Mungwanda (37).
Some of the drivers who have since appeared in court belong to bus companies such as Sliver King, MB Transport, Goodriders Bus Service, Four Lions, Munhenzva and Chitulimani Bus company.
Others traveled in a Toyota Granvia and a Nissan Caravan.
The bus drivers have since been questioned by police.
They were arrested for bribery at the Bubi roadblock along the Beitbridge-Masvingo highway after offering to bribe the police with cash so buses could pass freely without being searched.
The total amount of cash offered as a bribe is R150 and $23.
Beitbridge Police have also arrested another conductor, Anyway Pepukai (31) for bribery.
The suspect who was driving an SA Mercedes Benz Sprinter (AFG 9683) ordered his driver to leave at a police checkpoint before producing cash in the amount of R250 which he handed over to a policeman in an attempt to bribe him and was caught.
The arrests come after Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission last month intercepted and seized nine buses carrying contraband goods worth thousands of US dollars during an ongoing anti-smuggling campaign.
This comes at a time when the country is reportedly losing US$1 billion a year to smuggling.