Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
A POLICE Constable who recently opened up on corruption in the police force and tendered his resignation, has been sent to jail for communicating with the media without authority.
Authorities in the police office, instead of responding to Constable Richard Maziva’s numerous letters in which he complained about corruption in the police service, decided to charge him and immediately lock him up for 14 days.
Cst Maziva of Harare Central Police Station’s traffic section gave the police service three months’ notice to resign, but he has been jailed before the resignation date.
Imprisonment followed an internal disciplinary hearing that was conducted on Thursday.
Throughout his seven years of service, Cst Maziva wrote several letters to his superiors, complaining of the alarming corruption levels in the police service, which were never responded to.
At times, he would write letters requesting to be transferred from the traffic section, which he felt was the most corrupt unit, to other stations.
He finally wrote to the Commissioner-General of Police highlighting the corruption in the police service, but did not get any response until he threw in the towel and tendered his resignation.
He worked at five police traffic stations in four different provinces where he claims corruption was rife.
Cst Maziva said corruption was real and had written several reports to superiors, informing them of the rot, but no action was taken.
On each transfer, he would write a report stating all the corruption he would have witnessed for the authorities to take action without success.
Cst Maziva said he first came face-to-face with corruption at his first station — Chingondo Police Station in Mashonaland West — where officers would charge an unofficial $20 for clearance of a beast.
At roadblocks, Cst Maziva said, motorists were made to pay at least $5 in order to pass.
“I found it unfair because some of the people that were made to pay bribes were poor.
“I started refusing to do roadblock duties, and the officer-in-charge confronted me, asking for my reasons for that stance.
“I told him it was unprofessional to openly engage in corruption. The officer-in-charge took it as a disrespectful response, but that was the truth,” he said.
Cst Maziva transferred to Beitbridge Traffic in May 2014, where he encountered more acts of corruption.
“Every pirate taxi driver in Beitbridge had to pay a mandatory R100 or $10 to be allowed to pass through roadblocks without being issued with a ticket. Some would even pay more, depending on the nature of the offence.
“At the end of the day, a bribe of $20 would be paid to the officer-in-charge administration,” said Cst Maziva.
For traffic accidents, Cst Maziva said, police officer would extort money from both parties after separately threatening them.
“In some cases, one would pay a fine, while the other paid a bribe to the officer,” said Cst Maziva.
In May 2015, Cst Maziva wrote a report to his superiors, stating the corruption and seeking transfer to a non-traffic section.
However, he was moved to Victoria Falls Traffic, where police officers would target unsuspecting tourists who were not familiar with the town, arresting them for failing to obey stop signs and rail crossings among others. Kombis were made to pay $10 bribes to officers at roadblocks in Victoria Falls, while the officer-in-charge would get $40 daily.
At Mbare Traffic, Cst Maziva said kombi operators would pay $50 bribe per week to an individual police officer for protection.
In case of arrest, the operators had to pay up to $30 bribe to the officer-in-charge to facilitate their release.
Cst Maziva also worked at Mbare Police Station, where he was doing non-traffic duties.
“Individual officers or teams would collect at least $2 from each mbanje base, shebeen, and traders of other dangerous drugs daily . . .”
He said police details would be bribed by those who illegally dealt in copper at Magaba daily.
Cst Maziva also revealed that some officers would extort money from women who sold skin-lightening creams, and sex-enhancing drugs on the streets in Mbare.
He said corruption in the police force started from the top, where junior officers were forced to pay $50 monthly towards Kuyedza Club projects, which Cst Maziva described as high-level corruption.
Cst Maziva, tendered his resignation on September 2 and his expected last working day is December 17, 2019.
On the Form 71 (application for discharge form), Cst Maziva gave the reasons for resignation as:
“Too much corruption in the organisation”.