By Richard Muponde
Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri has denied that police officers force motorists to pay spot fines or impound vehicles.
Instead, he said motorists pay the fines voluntarily for their traffic offences.
Comm Gen Chihuri said this in his Notice of Opposition to an application by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) filed at the Bulawayo High Court last month seeking an order barring the police from demanding spot fines and impounding vehicles which the civil society organisation said was unconstitutional.
He was cited as the first defendant while Minister of Home Affairs Ignatius Chombo is the second defendant.
“The police always give traffic offenders an option to pay or not to pay spot fines. They don’t insist on payment of spot fines as alleged.
“In enforcing traffic laws the police are guided by the laws, rules and regulations,” said Comm Gen Chihuri.
“The police doesn’t compel motorists to pay fines on the spot. Only traffic offenders who have committed an offence and who have admitted doing so and are willing to pay spot fines have an option to pay the fine on spot.
“For record the police don’t compel motorists to pay spot fines but motorists opt to pay fines freely and voluntarily without any form of pressure having been exerted on them.”
He also denied that police were impounding vehicles or seizing drivers’ licences from motorists who fail or refuse to pay spot fines.
Comm Gen Chihuri said ticketing of motorists was not workable in the country as it had many loopholes.
“In this age of technology people are manufacturing fake identity cards and it’s costly and cumbersome to verify the authenticity of the said identity documents. Identity particulars are required to be endorsed on the Form 265 for purposes of tracking the accused if they should default on payment of fines,” he said.
Some traffic offenders, he said, provide fake residential addresses which makes it difficult to trace them and to avert that police accept spot fines.
Minister Chombo is still to file his opposing papers. The matter is still to be set down for hearing. Chronicle