HomeLocal NewsZRP rakes in $59 million in spot fines

ZRP rakes in $59 million in spot fines

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Spot fines are increasingly becoming a huge cash cow for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) amid revelations the force collects about $59 million a year.

By VENERANDA LANGA

Melusi Matshiya
Melusi Matshiya

Home Affairs permanent secretary, Melusi Matshiya, yesterday made the revelations, as he defended the retention of fees by various departments under his ministry, including the police, Registrar-General’s Office, Immigration and other departments, saying all the money they collected was properly accounted for.

Matshiya was addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on the 2017 National Budget, where he insisted spot fines were never abused.

“Treasury gave us the authority to retain funds, they get our audit reports and they have confidence in us,” he said.

“Those police officers found on the wrong side of the law have been prosecuted and some even committed suicide after they were found to have abused funds, but the fees collected are audited to the extent that last year but one (sic) we got a clean audit report.”

Bulawayo Central MP, Dorcas Sibanda (MDC-T) demanded that the police reveal the amounts they collected weekly for accountability, and Matshiya said all the money collected at roadblocks was receipted, banked and taken through all necessary accounting procedures and audits.

In 2014, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority revealed that the police collect between $3 million and $7 million monthly in spot fines, something the police denied, with spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba angrily saying the claim “is a big falsehood, which is intended to whip public emotions against the police in pursuance of an obvious agenda”.

She claimed the police only retained $1 million each month.

According to Matshiya’s projections, the police collect an average of just under $5 million a month in spot fines.

MPs also heard that the different departments in the Home Affairs ministry were expected to raise about $87 million from fees and fines in order to supplement the ministry’s 2017 budget allocation of $384 million.

Matshiya said the ministry would spend $339 million on wages and other administrative expenses, leaving only $25 million for operations.

Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Wiklef Makamache (finance director) said the ZRP had a debt overhang of $63 million which was incurred in 2009.

He said the force had requested for $79 million to prepare for crime prevention ahead of the 2018 general elections, but got $12 million.

“The fingerprint search machine for 2017 was projected at $9,6 million, but we are left with an outstanding payment of $4,2 million meant for a search engine to ease pressure on fingerprints. Currently, we have to rely on manual means of fingerprint search, which takes very long and yet a computerised system will take minutes,” Makamache said.

Matshiya also told the committee that the government failed to pay 527 new police recruits in 2016, resulting in his ministry paying them from the ZRP coffers. He said the police force also needed financial support to acquire a proper police communication system, saying mobile phones were susceptible to eavesdropping.

He said the Department of Immigration pays $14 000 in monthly rentals at Liquenda House and yet the department only gets $100 000 from retention fees, adding all ports of entry should be computerised to curb financial leakages.

Matshiya said the $13 193 000 allocated to the Registrar-General’s Office was inadequate to meet the department’s budgetary requirement of $40 million.

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