By Farayi Machamire
A police officer stationed in Chivhu has been dragged to court after he allegedly demanded an $80 bribe from an offender who kidnapped him at a roadblock.
The cop — Austen Chakwenya — is alleged to have hatched a plan to be paid the money by the accused, Willis Mhandu, in order for him to drop the kidnapping charges.
The court heard that he reportedly contacted the accused’s son in-law, Harold Tokwe, and threatened that he would take Mhandu to the cleaners if he did not avail $80.
This prompted Tokwe to make a police report leading to Chakwenya’s arrest.
The thirty-year-old Chakwenya appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa yesterday facing a charge of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
Allegations are that on November 17, 2016, the accused and his accomplice detective constable Cephas Munyamana, who was arrested and remanded out of custody on $50 bail, were manning a roadblock at the 80-kilometre peg along the Harare-Masvingo highway.
The roadblock comprised members of the Duty Uniform branch and Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
It is the State’s case that on the day, the two accused persons were kidnapped from the roadblock by Mhandu.
However, they managed to arrest him and he appeared at Chivhu Magistrates’ Court where the State was advised to proceed by way of summons.
The State alleges that sometime in December 2016, the two accused persons met Tokwe and demanded money amounting to $80 in order for them to withdraw the kidnapping charges against his father in-law.
It was further alleged that pursuant to their plan, the accused person phoned Tokwe on December 29 and instructed him to give the money to his accomplice Cephas Manyumana who was coming to Harare.
This prompted Tokwe to make a report to Police General Headquarters’ internal investigations and a trap was set on December 30, 2016.
On the same day, Tokwe, in the company of a team from internal investigations, is alleged to have met Manyumana at Road Port bus terminus and handed over $80 in marked $20 bills.
Manyumana was immediately arrested after receiving the money.
Upon being interviewed, Manyumana is alleged to have implicated the accused person as the one who sent him to collect the money on his behalf.
His version of events was corroborated by Tokwe who confirmed having been communicating with accused and that he had received an instruction from the accused to hand over the money to Manyumana.
Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State. Daily News