ICT ministry director extorted of US$192 by rogue cops, court hears

HARARE – Two police officers allegedly extorted US$192 from Beaullah Chirume, a director in the Information and Communication Technology ministry, following a traffic infringement, a court heard on Wednesday.

Constables Sinikiwe Phiri, 36, and Pirate Mazarire, 38, are jointly charged with Cleopas Matamba, 40, and ex-detective sergeant Passmore Tsodzo, 46.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) alleges that on April 6, Chirume was driving along 7th Street from Sam Levy where she had just withdrawn cash from her bank.

The court heard that she realised that she was being followed by a Toyota Wish and out of fear she drove to a nearby furniture shop. But before she could leave her car, she was accosted by Matamba who identified himself as a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation.

Matamba, the court heard, told Chirume that she was under arrest for crossing a red traffic light near State House. Phiri joined Matamba in the vehicle and the duo allegedly told Chirume that she had to pay a US$300 bribe to avoid being arrested.

The two men, it is alleged, then took Chirume to their own car to meet their other accomplices whom they claimed to be their superiors – referring to Tsodzo and Mazarire.

They took her back to her car where they demanded cash. She handed over US$175 but they were not satisfied, which allegedly led them to search her wallet which had US$17 and ZW$200.

Phiri and Matamba allegedly ordered her to drive her car due west along Samora Machel.

Before she could cross Fifth Street, they ordered her to stop. The two exited her vehicle and jumped into their Toyota Wish which was driving behind her.

Chirume later filed a police report leading to the quartet’s arrest.

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