Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Barbourfields ticket scam uncovered…. cop arrested

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

A policeman who was on duty at Barbourfields Stadium during a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders and FC Platinum on Sunday has been arrested after being found in possession of match tickets in what is suspected to have been a well orchestrated scam involving corrupt officers and cashiers.

Bishop Mwembe in handcuffs
Last year another policeman, Bishop Mwembe, who was based at Mzilikazi Police Station, was caught accepting a $3 bribe from three fans so he could grant all of them entry to watch a Highlanders and Dynamos clash. Mwembe attempted to swallow a $1 note in a bid to conceal evidence after being apprehended.

The police officer was manning Gate 14 at the Mpilo End stand and is believed to be detained at Mzilikazi Police Station.

An alert FC Platinum supporter noticed that the policeman was not tearing tickets being handed to him by fans entering through that gate and quickly tipped off a Highlanders’ marshal who informed club treasurer Donald Ndebele.

Ndebele confirmed the incident, but said investigations were still underway.

Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele also confirmed the alleged scam, which comes less than a year after another policeman, Bishop Mwembe, who was based at Mzilikazi Police Station, was caught accepting a $3 bribe from three fans so he could grant all of them entry to watch a Highlanders and Dynamos clash. Mwembe attempted to swallow a $1 note in a bid to conceal evidence after being apprehended.

“I’ve received a report of a police officer who was found with untorn tickets at Gate Number 14. When he was approached he quickly tore up the tickets but was nevertheless arrested,” said Kennedy Ndebele.

“We want to make it clear that police officers (at stadia) aren’t even supposed to touch the tickets. All they should do is to maintain security at the gates by searching people and ensuring no prohibited items enter our stadiums.”

Ndebele said the paying public must always make sure that their tickets are torn, not by police details, but by private security officers engaged for that job.

The officer commanding Bulawayo West District, which covers Barbourfields and Mzilikazi, Chief Superintendent Mthokozisi Manzini Moyo, last night said he had forwarded a memo to that effect to Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango, who was, however, not reachable for comment.

Sunday’s case is said to be just a tip of the iceberg as the scam is believed to be widespread and involves a network of unscrupulous officials, cashiers and security details.

“These things have been going on for some time now. Corrupt cashiers work hand in hand with the security guys and then share the money. One ticket can be sold more than 10 times and in the process prejudicing cash-strapped clubs. I think the best way is to rotate these cashiers instead of using the same people every week,” said a former cashier.

Just over 7,000 fans paid their way to watch Sunday’s match, which Highlanders lost 1-2 to FC Platinum, according to Ndebele. The Chronicle

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