Cops arrested at Beitbridge border
FOUR police detectives attached to the anticorruption section at Beitbridge Border Post, who were instrumental in the arrest of two immigration officers caught taking bribes on camera last week, were on Tuesday nabbed after taking a bribe of R1 500 from a bus crew they had intercepted smuggling cooking oil and blankets. Sergeants Sibusisiwe Chiverengo and Lawrence Munyika along with Constables Hillary Tetete and Raymond Tapiwa Jeche were picked up by detectives from the border control unit soon after collecting their “pickings”.
Border authorities said the four were arrested at around 6AM and have been charged with criminal abuse of office.
They said the four are part of a reaction and surveillance team, which acts on information provided by other officers in the closed circuit televisions control room within the border.
“The accused persons were on duty and were monitoring customs officials from the enforcement and compliance searching luggage in buses.
“After the bus had been searched, they saw some travellers taking back into the bus some products which are restricted under Statutory Instrument Number 64. They then called the customs officials to conduct a re-search,” said the official.
The source said 14 blankets and several boxes of cooking oil were then seized by officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
It is alleged Tetete approached the bus driver Mr Maxwell Mabonga and demanded R500, threatening to initiate another search of the bus.
He was given the money and went away.
Mr Mabonga then drove the bus to an immigration check point where he was followed by Munyika and Jeche who demanded a further R2 000 threatening to search the bus again.
When Mr Mabonga resisted, they called in Tetete and Chiverengo as reinforcement.
“I later collected R1 000 from the passengers and we agreed that I was to give the money to one of them in the men’s toilet by the border.
“After that I took images of the money which I then handed over to one of the police officers and reported immediately afterwards. They were all arrested but the money was not recovered, ” said Mr Mabonga.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Inspector Philisani Ndebele was not reachable on his mobile phones.
National Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was yet to get details of the matter.
This brings to eight the total number of border officials arrested since the introduction of secret cameras at the border post.
So far, six police officers and two immigration officers have fallen victim to the security upgrade at the country’s port of entry.
Last week, South Africa’s special anti-corruption unit, the Hawks arrested two senior immigration officers at Beitbridge for taking bribes from Zimbabwean travellers and asylum seekers.