Junior police in Bulawayo have reportedly refused to declare their assets amid increasing fears that the exercise could expose their “ill-gotten” wealth and that senior police officers were left out of the move.
Police sources told NewsDay yesterday that most junior police simply ignored the whole exercise launched about two months ago are restricted to junior members from the rank of assistant inspector and below.
“The juniors are saying why we should declare assets when the seniors are the ones amassing wealth whose origins is not clear?” said an assistant inspector in Bulawayo.
“The reasoning is that the seniors are the ones who are better placed to pull big deals and not the junior officers. Ironically, it has emerged that the whole exercise was motivated by careless talk by some errant juniors boasting to their deskbound superiors that they could make money out there while the superiors are in offices behind computers and desks.”
Junior police are also reported to be angry that the asset declaration forms have a section which requires them to fill in details of their close relatives.
They fear such information could be used to probe their relatives on how they acquired their property.
“They are not in the police force why should they be subject to police enquiries on the origins of their wealth?” fumed a junior police officer.
“It’s unfair. In any case, why do they not question us on the origins of the monies that we use to buy stationery and other small items for police work virtually subsidising the police force?”
There was speculation that the details of relatives were required to ascertain those who might have corruptly acquired assets and registered them under the names of close relatives such as their spouses or children.
“We dare them to try and enforce vigorously the assets declaration exercise which has only been limited to Bulawayo yet we know Harare has a situation that requires it more than here,” said another junior officer.
“Just go to Harare Central Police Station and see the type of cars parked outside belonging to individual police officers.”
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena is on record saying the exercise is carried out during investigation of corruption cases.
“The system has been in our books on the lifestyles of individual members of the force,” he told NewsDay last week. “It is used when we are suspicious of the lifestyle of particular members of the force, how that person acquired assets, in pursuit of investigations into corruption.”
A few years ago a police magazine, Outpost, once carried an article by a senior police officer chiding fellow members for taking bribes especially at roadblocks and said the reflective jackets usually worn by traffic police were as a result being reffered to as “money link cards”.