Monday, 23 March 2020

COP IS NOW SUING ME : WHISTLEBLOWER


A WHISTLEBLOWER yesterday claimed that he was being sued by a police officer who made headlines in 2017 for swallowing bribe money after she was cornered by a Police Internal Security Intelligence (Pisi) team that arrested her at the crime scene.

Charles Mutama has bemoaned the lack of protection and cost of reporting corruption after the bribe-taking cop sued him for $200 000.

Narrating his ordeal to NewsDay yesterday, Mutama said he bought a Mazda 626 car for which he wanted to change ownership in March 2017. He alleged a police officer who was at the Vehicle Theft Squad, Southerton, Grace Tsingano demanded a bribe to facilitate the change.

Mutama said he gave her part payment through EcoCash and he reported the matter to Police General Headquarters and the Pisi team set a trap. He said upon being cornered, Tsingano swallowed the trap money and a police officer Thomas Mabwe sustained injuries in the tussle that ensued.

Mutama and the arresting officer testified in court and Tsingano was later acquitted under unclear circumstances despite overwhelming evidence before the court.

Last year, Mutama received summons, advising him that Tsingano was suing him for $200 000.

“This has strained me. I have sold property to pay legal fees. The lawyers are asking for United States dollars. This has taken a lot out of me. I am being punished for reporting corruption. I do not have any confidence in our courts, how can an accused be acquitted with all overwhelming evidence at their disposal?” Mutana said.

“I am wondering whether this is what it costs in Zimbabwe to report corruption. I engaged lawyers. I am at a point where I am being milked for reporting corruption.”

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo has been calling for citizens to step forward and disclose any wrongdoing, particularly by public officers, but there is no framework to protect the whistleblowers.

Legislation has not yet been enacted to protect whistleblowers as a result of their actions.

Zacc spokesperson John Makamure said: “We have come up with a Bill to protect whistleblowers. This is our priority at the moment to protect them from being harassed.” He urged Mutama to report to Zacc if he felt there was corruption in the handling of the matter. Newsday

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