‘Municipal police officers fuel graft’

THE National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) has accused Harare City Council (HCC)’s municipal police officers of fuelling corruption by demanding bribes from desperate informal traders operating at illegal vending sites.

by Own Correspondent

Navuz chairperson Sten Zvorwadza said in some instances, municipal police officers were refusing to return confiscated goods to vendors who refused to pay bribes.

Last year, Navuz wrote to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) raising similar complaints.

“What has complicated the situation of vendors is that corruption is actually going on unabated. These so-called raids have actually turned out to be a cash cow for corrupt municipal police officers and some of their superiors who are also benefiting from extorting vendors. Vendors have forwarded several complaints to the Harare City Council, but it seems no action is being taken,” Zvorwadza said.

Harare municipal police arrest a vendor who was resisting removal from the Speke avenue vending site yesterday

He said efforts to get assistance from the police had failed to bear fruit as well.

“It is unfortunate that when the vendors report their cases, they are sometimes turned into criminals and detained for no apparent reason. So they end up not reporting their cases to the police for fear of being arrested.

“What it means, therefore, is that corruption by municipal cops is going on unchecked while authorities are turning a blind eye to this rot. We are also concerned that authorities at Town House are failing to act against corruption in the distribution of vending stalls,” Zvorwadza said.

HCC last year ordered vendors to vacate the Central Business District and go to designated vending sites, but there have been reports of corruption on allocation of the stalls while in some cases, some vendors were being sidelined due to their political affiliation.

Council spokesperson, Michael Chideme confirmed they had received reports of corruption involving municipal police officers, but said they could not act due to the lack of evidence.

“We have been getting those reports, but the problem is that we are not able to find the evidence,” Chideme said.

He said council would act once they get the evidence to nail the corrupt municipal cops.

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