By Kudzai Chikiwa
Police have busted a four-man-syndicate that was producing fake national identity cards, drivers’ licences and defensive drivers’ certificates among other documents countrywide.
Police did not release the names of the accused persons but they reside in Harare.
The syndicate’s activities, police said, had far reaching consequences as companies nationwide may have engaged people to positions of authority and trust on the basis of forged qualifications.
Speaking during a ZRP Crime Watch programme on ZBC TV, Officer-in-Charge Harare Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) Inspector James Chimombe said the suspects are being charged with 15 counts of fraud and 48 counts of unlawfully possessing national identification cards.
“Police from the CPU received information from the public that there were criminals who were going around town supplying citizens with fake driver’s licences, national identity cards, defensive driver’s certificates and skilled worker certificates.
“The team managed to arrest the accused person who led them to the office of the perpetrator who was arrested in his office while he was busy producing some certificates. The team conducted a search and managed to arrest four accused persons,” he said.
Insp Chimombe said police recovered the materials that they were using to make the documents and have since taken the case to the commercial crime unit Harare province for investigations.
He said the criminals were also forging certificates of skilled worker qualifications duping many corporates and employees.
“We have since checked with the manpower planning and development board who confirmed that the certificates are forged documents which poses a risk to our manpower in the country,” Insp Chimombe said.
Officer-in-Charge of the Harare Crime Control Unit (CCU) Assistant Inspector Blessing Mutumbi said the suspects took original national identity cards and defaced them, leaving only the security features appearing on the actual identity card.
“They then superimpose them with information printed on paper such that one cannot notice that it’s a fake document. These criminals even use the same font used on actual documents,” he said.
Officer-in-Charge CCU Insp Ngoni Kutadzaushe said police are engaging the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and the Registrar General’s office in investigating the case.
“This case has a national impact and many companies and individuals might have fallen victim to such activities hence we are intensifying investigations,” he said.
Harare Central and Suburban districts Officer-in-Charge Insp Joshua Kadungu said the arrest was a milestone achievement for the police.
“We are expecting a decrease in crime as perpetrators have been held accountable. Anyone who knows people producing such documents should report to their nearest police station,” he said.
Police urged service providers who will be issuing documents to members of the public to educate them on the security features that are found on actual Zimbabwean documents to reduce crimes of this nature.
“We also urge members of the public to go to relevant offices to access documents because they are duped at unregistered service providers. Do not to consult any agencies in matters concerning identity particulars,” he said. Chronicle