THE country could be losing millions of dollars through misuse of retained funds by various Government departments such as the police and the Registrar General’s Office, Parliament’s Budget office has said.
The office has recommended that the Government should revert to the old system where all revenue is deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The Budget office said Government could have realised up to $1 billion in fines and user charges last year alone but these did not reach the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“Zimbabwe could be losing millions of dollars through misuse of retained funds by various Government departments who are retaining 100 percent of the funds they are collecting.
The Auditor General has raised a red flag over lack of transparency and accountability with regards to most of these statutory and retention funds,” said the office in its June analysis of the Retention Fund.
A SENIOR policeman based at Marlborough Police Station has been fingered as the brains behind the processing of counterfeit Admission of Guilt deposit fine books (ZJ69) that are being used by “unscrupulous” cops manning roadblocks. This has raised fears that unsuspecting motorists are being issued with fake receipts, with the police officers pocketing the money.
Government has directed that the roadblocks be reduced to four per province and the officers deployed elsewhere. The case came to light after two police constables were arrested in Marlborough recently manning a roadblock with a fake ZJ69 book and implicated Inspector Victor Jaja.
Insp Jaja is responsible for administration at the police station. The two constables were arrested by two senior police officers based at Marlborough Police Station on March 3 following a tip-off and they reportedly told the officers that they had been given the fake receipt book by Insp Jaja.
It is reported that the two constables, whose case is still pending before the courts, however, later changed their statements and alleged that they were given the receipt book by the officer-in-charge.
Although chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment yesterday, sources close to the matter confirmed that Insp Jaja was under investigation.
THE Government yesterday said it is only standard roadblocks that will be reduced to only four per province but the numerous spot checks by police within cities and towns will remain in place, dampening celebrations by motorists and public transport operators who thought they would now get a reprieve from harassment by law enforcement agents.
A standard roadblock has a Police Ahead sign, drums and flashing lights.
Home Affairs deputy Minister Cde Obedingwa Mguni said it is the standard roadblocks that have been reduced to four per province and what motorists called roadblocks along routes leading to city centres or growth points were in fact spot checks.
Giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development in Harare on Monday, the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Ignatius Chombo, who was accompanied by his deputy Cde Mguni, said as from next week the police would unveil at least four standard roadblocks per province.
HOME Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday told Parliament that government had ordered police to reduce the number of roadblocks to 40 countrywide, which translates to four per province, following a public outcry from motorists and tourists, who described the numerous vehicle checkpoints as a great inconvenience.
Chombo made the remarks after he and his deputy, Obedingwa Mguni, appeared before the Dexter Nduna-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs to speak on roadblocks, where they also disclosed that they would next month commission the integrated electronic traffic system to electronically identify defective vehicles and traffic offenders.
“Government has told the Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri, to remove all unnecessary roadblocks and mount necessary ones,” Chombo said. “Roadblocks will be reduced to only 40 nationally before computerisation, and it means there will be four roadblocks per province unless there is a security threat or serious crime.”
Motorists could still be losing cash to a syndicate of bogus cops that have been mounting illegal roadblocks using spikes in Harare, as some of the culprits are still on the run and police are yet to recover the spikes and deposit fine books they are using in committing the offences.
The syndicate involves former police officers who were discharged from the force for indiscipline and dishonesty, and civilians. Police have so far arrested seven suspects in connection with impersonating police officers or alternatively possessing articles for criminal use in recent weeks.
Five of them – four being former cops and a footballer – appeared in court last week, while two more former cops yesterday appeared before Ms Barbra Chimboza.
Carrington Marasha and Farai Mupundumani are facing charges of attempted armed robbery and impersonating a police officer.
They were remanded in custody and were advised to approach the High Court for bail application. Their alleged accomplice, Munyaradzi Tivaringe, alias Goliath, is still at large.
A MAKONI-BASED policeman was last week brutally murdered by a villager following a scuffle over a $2 debt.Teurai Tsarwe (35) of Zambe Village under Chief Makoni was arrested on murder charges as defined in Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9.23.
Tsarwe, who was not represented, was not asked to plead when he appeared before Rusape provincial magistrate Mrs Elizabeth Hanzi, who advised him to apply for bail at the High Court as he was facing a very serious offence.
Prosecuting, Mrs Moreblessing Tapfumaneyi told the court that Tsarwe struck Samson Mutsunguma, a police special constabulary, several times on the head with a stone.
“On June 13 at around 5.30pm and at Zambe Village, Teurai Tsarwe assaulted Samson Mutsunguma after Tsarwe had demanded his $2 note.
THERE was drama and chaos at Bellevue along Masiyephambili Road in Bulawayo yesterday when some Nkulumane Police Station officers allegedly impounded a kombi over an outstanding $3 bribe, before ramming into a signpost.
The driver of the kombi, Tavonga Moyo, said he arrived at a roadblock at Bellevue along Masiyephambili Road and was signalled to stop his Toyota vehicle, registration number ACQ 4455.
“I was still talking to the other female officer when suddenly three police officers jumped into my kombi to impound it, accusing me of failing to pay a $3 bribe which I did not pay on Wednesday,” he alleged.
“A police sergeant nicknamed Mlomobomvu, from Nkulumane, drove the kombi intending to take it to the police station, while I sat on the passenger seat.’’
He said the officer was speeding and lost control of the vehicle before ramming into a signpost. Moyo said the other officers called their colleagues from Nkulumane Police Station to attend the scene.
But other kombi drivers who came to the scene resisted and called police officers from Drill Hall traffic section to attend to the scene to record statements.
THE tourism sector is reportedly suffering huge losses owing to overzealous manner at which some Zimbabwe Republic Police officers are manning roadblocks along the countries roads, abusing both motorists and the law.
Ross Kennedy, chief executive of Africa Albida Tourism and the former chairman of the African Travel and Tourism Association, said the country was now becoming difficult to sell as a self-drive destination and countries such as Germany were now shunning Zimbabwe as a safe destination.
Kennedy said the roadblock situation had become worse despite assurances by the Tourism ministry that things would get better. Kennedy said he was encouraged by Press reports that Tourism minister Walter Mzembi was engaging the Home Affairs ministry to ensure that the situation on the country’s roads was improved.
This only reflects the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe, which is being pushed upwards by three main drivers — poor laws, corruption and congested road blocks — which has turned the life of road users into a nightmare and owning a vehicle into a crime. Not only are tourists being affected, but locals as well, including tobacco farmer Evan Nyakuchera, who said the cost of transporting his 20 bales of tobacco from Karoi to Harare went up by nearly 50% owing to “problematic” roadblocks along the way.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe (pictured), two weeks ago, reportedly ordered the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to reduce the number of roadblocks, saying they were becoming an inconvenience to motorists and the travelling public.
Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni made the revelations in Parliament yesterday.
“Two weeks ago, President Mugabe chaired a meeting that resolved that roadblocks must be reduced,” Mguni said. “Therefore, we made a plan to reduce them, but we said it is not easy to balance quality service versus compliance because we need not loosen our security when giving services.”
This comes a week after Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to urgently engage his Tourism counterpart, Walter Mzembi to consider scaling down on roadblocks following complaints from tourists.
POLICE have sent 500 electronic traffic gadgets to stations countrywide in a move meant to do away with spot fines and fight corruption.
The gadgets will detect offences and issue out invoices to be paid later at the police station in a move which is likely to be welcomed by motorists who have complained of abuse at the hands of some police officers at roadblocks.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Obedingwa Mguni, who last week indicated that police would do away with receipt books, said the gadgets have already been dispatched to traffic stations.
“Presently 500 gadgets which will actually raise the invoices have been deployed into the country and into traffic stations. From now on we will never see a manually written invoice because that was giving us a problem.
Former Highlanders Football Club player Misheck Mburayi is part of a syndicate of bogus cops that have been mounting illegal roadblocks using spikes to collect cash from unsuspecting motorists in the city, the court heard yesterday.
Mburayi (27) appeared in court jointly charged with former cop, Munesushe Mazarire (27). They are facing charges of attempted robbery and impersonating a police officer.
Upon their arrest, Mazarire was found in possession of police uniforms, batons, handcuffs and police fine receipt books. According to the State, Mazarire has a similar case which is pending before the courts.
It is alleged that upon their arrest, the pair told the police that they committed the offences in connivance with other former police officers identified as Munyaradzi Tivaringe, Carrington Marasha and Farai Mupundumani who were discharged from the force for indiscipline and dishonesty.
Four policemen, who allegedly committed crimes in separate incidents in the city, appeared in court yesterday charged with fraud, bribery and extortion.
Their cases were, however, recorded differently. Patrick Makina (38), who is facing extortion charges, allegedly demanded a motor vehicle and cash from a man who was in custody facing a theft charge involving $50 000 to facilitate his release.
Traffic cops, Brighton Matafari (36) and Mike Mukuna (29) were arrested at a roadblock after receiving $5 bribe from a motorist whose driver’s licence they had confiscated.
Another policeman, Henock Henock (27), is facing a fraud charge after he allegedly defrauded a Harare woman of $1 000 after she intended to have her fingerprints vetted for a police clearance.