Policemen arrested for firewood bribes

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Two more police officers were recently nabbed in Masvingo as the net continues to close in on corrupt members of the force countrywide.

The latest arrest involving Constables Cornelius Mayeyeko (36) and Clever Sibanda (30) from the police’s Mounted Unit relates to their alleged demand for bribes from firewood poachers.

Masvingo magistrate Makamera Waini remanded the pair in custody to October 5.

They are facing a charge of criminal abuse of office after they allegedly demanded bribes worth $109 from six wood poachers from Runyararo West suburb over a two-month period.

Mayeyeko and Sibanda’s arrest comes barely a month after two policemen based in Kwekwe, Chakanetsa Samuel (37) and Julius Muruvi (38), were also arrested for allegedly receiving a $400 bribe.

A week before, 21 traffic police officers throughout the country had been arrested while others were suspended or dismissed for bribery.

In the latest case, the court heard that the police officers, who are being represented by Kossam Chuma, demanded $2 bribes from residents they caught illegally fetching firewood from Raft Farm.

It is further averred that the cops would make a follow-up to the poachers’ houses and demand as little as $2 every time they felt like.

This did not go down well with one of the residents, Tapiwa Zimondi, who then resisted paying the alleged bribe.

As a result Zimondi was allegedly assaulted by the pair before he reported the matter to senior officers at Masvingo Central Police Station.

Three other suspected wood-poachers made similar reports, leading to the pair’s arrest.