POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, has defended his decision to redeploy the entire staff at Mabvuku Police Station, saying corruption levels at the station had reached unprecedented levels.
About 26 of the 37 police officers, who were suspended after being transferred to various police stations and posts dotted around the country, approached the High Court in November last year and thwarted the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s move to have them charged and dismissed by a suitability board.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese issued an order suspending the convening of the suitability board.
The officers then approached the High Court in Harare challenging their suspension and forced transfers.
But, Chihuri and ZRP chief staff officer Justice Chengeta insisted the transfers and suspensions of the officers were procedural, more so given the fact that there were allegations of corruption against them.
The top cops also said the officers’ application did not comply with the State Liabilities Act, which requires that notice must be given before suing the State or its officials.
“After receiving reports of corruption by officers at Mabvuku Police Station and the arrest of two of the plaintiffs on charges of corruption, the Commissioner General of Police (Chihuri) decided to transfer all the plaintiffs to facilitate investigations since the whole station was labelled as corrupt,” Chihuri and Chengeta said.
“All the police officers, who were at Mabvuku Police Station, were reported to be involved in corrupt activities, whereby they would go out in teams to carry out road block duties and each team would collect money from kombi drivers, which would be shared among all officers at the station.”
Chihuri also added: “Not all transfers are approved by the Commissioner General of Police. Further, the chief staff officer human resource administration is responsible for the transfer of members on a national level — it, therefore, follows that the transfers of the plaintiffs were done procedurally.”
One of the victims of the transfer, an Assistant Inspector Mhizha said he was shocked when he received a radio signal inviting him to appear at the Harare South district headquarters for the suitability board hearing.
In his founding affidavit, Mhizha, through his lawyer, Norman Mugiya, said no reasons had been given why the police force had decided to convene a board of suitability against him and the other police officers, contrary to the provisions of section 68(2) of the Constitution.
Last Wednesday, the matter appeared before High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba where the officers were seeking confirmation of an order declaring that their transfers and suspensions were illegal, but the court asked the lawyer to provide more details.
“You must file heads indicating that the actions of the respondents were not supported by Police Act and regulations,” Chigumba ordered the officer’s lawyer before postponing the matter to June 1 this year.