CHINHOYI — A former prosecutor stationed at Karoi Magistrates’ Court who accepted a $400 bribe in order to facilitate the release of two vehicles belonging to suspects that were impounded by the police has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 24 months in prison.
Simon Tapiwa (36), who was discharged from work after committing the offence, however, had half of the sentence set aside for five years on condition of good behaviour while a further 12 months were suspended on condition that he performs 420 hours of unpaid work at Moi Primary School starting from April 15.
The court heard that sometime in September 2010, Moreblessing Muzondi, Onias Shumba, Sharon Nyika, Nkosilathi Nyathi and Clever Tachiona were arrested at Magunje turn-off by police officers after they were found in possession of 13 pairs of raw ivory concealed in a Nissan Champ vehicle registration number AAN4174 being driven by Shumba.
The other vehicle, a Mazda Capella registration number 689-097S which had broken down was recovered by police at Nyamakate and held in police custody as exhibits.
Muzondi and her syndicate were charged under the Parks and Wildlife Act and were arraigned at the Karoi Magistrates’ Court with accused prosecuting.
In June 2011, the matter was brought to finality at the court and only Shumba was convicted while the rest were acquitted. The trial magistrate however did not make a ruling on the fate of the impounded cars.
Shumba approached accused in order to establish the fate of the two cars and accused demanded money to facilitate their release.
On August 15, 2012, accused contacted Shumba and demanded $500 which was contrary or inconsistent with his duty as a public officer.
Shumba then informed his wife, Muzondi about the deal and it did not go down well with her prompting her to report the matter to the Commercial Crime Unit in Harare.
On August 28 2012, a trap was set leading to the arrest of accused while at work after accepting the money which was also found in his possession.
Magistrate Sam Chitumwa presided over the matter.