A CITY of Harare municipal police officer landed himself in court after he allegedly attempted to extort money from a motorist whose truck had been impounded for violating traffic regulations.
Stanley Mugwaro appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court charged with extortion after he allegedly attempted to extort US$150 from Mr Nhlanhla Sibanda, so that he could facilitate the release of the truck.
He was not asked to plead to the charges when he initially appeared in court and was remanded to February 27 on $50 000 bail.
The court heard that on December 9, Mr Sibanda’s truck was impounded along Emmerson Mnangagwa Road by a team from police, Environmental Management Agency and City of Harare traffic police, who were on a joint operation. Mr Sibanda’s truck was then taken to City of Harare Central Stores for safekeeping while waiting for him to pay fines for the offences.
It is said that Mr Sibanda cleared his truck with Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, CID Vehicle Theft Squad, Environmental Management Agency and City of Harare.
He then visited Harare Central Police Station for final clearance where he was told by an unknown police officer that it was difficult for him to see Assistant Commissioner Nyazema for final clearance of the truck.
As Mr Sibanda was leaving the station, he was advised by another unknown motorist, who was in similar situation to engage Mugwaro for assistance.
Upon being contacted, Mugwaro is said to have asked for US$150 for him to assist in having the truck released.
Irked by Mugwaro’s actions, Mr Sibanda took the matter to Police General Headquarters Internal Investigations where he lodged a complaint.
A trap was then set leading to Mugwaro’s arrest. He was then taken to court charged with extortion.
In a separate but related matter, three police officers from Kuwadzana Police Station appeared in court on allegations of demanding bribes from commuter omnibuses plying the City-Kuwadzana route along Bulawayo Road.
Owen Chipango, Innocent Nyatsanza and Bridget Chikara appeared before the same court charged with criminal abuse of office.
They all denied the charges when they initially appeared in court and are expected back on January 19 for their hearing. Circumstances leading to their arrest are that on December 19, Peter Kugarakuripi lodged a complaint with the police that the trio were mounting a roadblock along Bulawayo Road while in their civilian clothes.
It is said that they would then demand cash from commuter omnibuses plying the city centre-Bulawayo Road route.
A trap was then set leading to the trio’s arrest. The trio was arrested after demanding a US$20 bribe.