Two police officers and an immigration officer deployed at Beitbridge Border Post have been arrested by the police anti-corruption unit for taking a R500 bribe from five undocumented immigrants who illegally crossed into Zimbabwe.
Robson Tapfuma (30) an accounts assistant at the department of immigration along with Rangarirai Makuvaza (30) and Meluleki Sibanda (30) who are both police officers were arrested by the police crack team soon after taking the bribe on 23 September.
The three have been charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officers as defined in Section 171 (1) of the Criminal Law (Reform and Codification) Act, Chapter 9.23.
They all denied being on the wrong side of the law when they appeared before the town’s magistrate Mr Innocent Bepura on Thursday for a fast track trial. Two witnesses have since testified against the trio and they were remanded to October 1 on US$200 bail for continuation of trial.
Tapfuma, Makuvaza and Sibanda were also ordered to reside at their given address and not to interfere with ongoing police investigations as part of their bail conditions.
Prosecutor Mr Foster Abheki alleges that on the 23rd of September in the evening, an MIV coach arrived at Beitbridge Border Post from South Africa enroute to Harare. He said among the passengers were five undocumented immigrants.
Mr Abheki said while at the border, the passengers enlisted the services of the bus crew for assistance to cross into the country. They were told to give the bus driver, Martin Mutasa R100 each which was to be given to the trio.
He said the bus crew completed all the immigration and customs formalities before driving to the last immigration check point where they were then stopped by the trio. The trio physically checked passports from all passengers in the bus and discovered that they were five undocumented passengers.
When they attempted to arrest the border jumpers they were then given R500 by Mutasa and allowed the bus to enter the country. Unbeknown to them, their actions were under the watchful eyes of the police anti-graft team.
The team stopped the bus immediately and conducted another checklist of the passengers leading to the discovery of the offence where the border jumpers indicated that they had paid R500 for passage.
It was established that Tapfuma had received R200 while the cops had shared R150 each, the money was, however, not recovered. Under the provisions of the Immigration Act, all illegal immigrants (Zimbabweans) coming into the country are liable to pay a fine of R100 or US$10 for illegal entry.