Saturday, 30 May 2020


Detectives on Wednesday night fired warning shots to arrest a policeman and a member of a Harare neighbourhood watch suspected to be part of a group of rogue officers demanding bribes from truck drivers at a roadblock south of Harare.

The two, who resisted arrest, were using a white Toyota Corolla (ACP 5101). Detectives halted their escape by shooting out the right front tyre and damaging the right passenger door during the scuffle at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze and Willowvale roads around 7pm.

The arrested pair are Constable Ephraim Mashonganyika and a member of a neighbourhood watch, Wilfred Matuka.

The two fell into a trap set by the detectives, while their suspected accomplice disappeared into the night. The duo is detained at Southerton Police Station as investigations continue.

They are alleged to have been manning a roadblock before the tollgate near Southlea Park, targeting trucks coming from South Africa.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests and said the police did not condone any form of corruption or any acts of criminality by officers. 

“It is alleged that on April 30, the complainant who was driving a truck from South Africa to Harare was stopped by five people who blocked him with a Toyota Bubble and they instilled fear in him before demanding a US$150 bribe from him.

“Again on May 26, the same driver was driving the truck from South Africa to Zimbabwe and at the same spot he was stopped by occupants of the same car.

“A trap was later set resulting in the arrests of Cst Mashonganyika and Matuka. They also tried to resist arrest resulting in shots being fired. However, in this case the law will take its course,” he said.

Narrating events that led to the dramatic arrests, police sources said on Wednesday at around 8am, five police officers including Mashonganyika and Matuka were manning the roadblock when they stopped a South African registered truck, which was on its way to the city.

The truck was ferrying agricultural chemicals for a Harare-based company and the officers demanded to see documents for the cargo, which they later alleged were fake before threatening to impound the truck.

During the process, they demanded US$300 to release the truck. While they were “negotiating”, the truck driver recognised Mashonganyika as one of the officers who about four weeks earlier had extorted US$150 from him by claiming his tyres were worn. 

However, on Wednesday, the driver phoned the truck owner informing him that the same police officers were demanding more cash.

The owner went straight to Harare Central police station and a team of six detectives was sent out to investigate the case.

Police set a trap to arrest the suspected extortionists with the help of the truck driver. He called the suspects.

They quickly drove to the intersection of Willowvale and Simon Mazorodze Roads, anticipating their bribe.

The six detectives, hiding nearby, witnessed the handover and then emerged to effect the arrest having caught the three red-handed.

The three drove off, but detectives fired warning shots and then shot the right front tyre and hit the right passenger door of the getaway vehicle, resulting in two suspects surrendering while the third disappeared into the                           darkness.

Checks revealed that both Mashonganyika and Mataka were based at Southlea Park Police Post.

Police have been taking a far stricter stance on corruption within the force and have urged the public to help them by refusing to pay bribes and to report attempted extortion promptly. Herald


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