By Thubelihle Mabhena
BULAWAYO – A 36-year-old Bulawayo man was severely beaten up by a mob after he allegedly posed as a police officer and demanded a $20 bribe from a pirate taxi driver.
Manyeruke Mafukidze of Queens Park yesterday told provincial magistrate Sibongile Msipa that he sustained serious injuries following the assault. He pleaded not guilty to extortion and impersonation.
Mafukidze was reportedly rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital after he fell unconscious during the assault.
Prosecuting, Taurai Hondoyemoto told the court that on November 21 at around 3PM at Paddonhurst shopping centre, Mafukidze boarded a vehicle belonging to Moreblessing Chikweza, 59, who operates a pirate taxi that carries passengers to the city centre.
“Mafukidze allowed Chikweza to drop the passengers at their destination and when they reached Robert Mugabe Way, he introduced himself as a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” said Hondoyemoto.
He then told Chikweza that he was under arrest for pirating hence he was taking him to Ross Camp.
The court heard that Mafukidze demanded a bribe from Chikweza and he gave him $20.
Mafukidze released Chikweza after telling him to go home and stop pirating as an operation was underway. He warned him that he would be arrested.
Hondoyemoto said Chikweza did not report the matter to the police and related the matter to his colleagues.
On that same day Chikweza received information that a man had been arrested for impersonation. He went to Bulawayo Central Police and positively identified Mafukidze.
The value extorted is $20 and nothing was recovered.
Magistrate Msipa ordered Mafukidze to pay $50 bail and remanded him to December 9. Chronicle