The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has launched a massive crackdown targeting senior Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers implicated in corruption.
Already, some of ZRP’s top brass, mainly from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), have been arrested and are answering to corruption charges in the courts.
Police sources say investigations, which could net high-profile officers, have been intensified over the past two weeks.
The blitz is being spearheaded by Zacc working in collaboration with the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) housed in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office.
Government and police sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Mnangagwa has also further instructed ZRP to start procuring vehicles through state-owned Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) following revelations of rampant corruption involving the procurement of vehicles and other equipment used in police operations.
The sources said the matter came to light when anomalies in the procurement of vehicles were uncovered. There were also questions about circumstances that led to the force running out of uniforms.
Zacc, together with Sacu, are also understood to have instituted investigations around what sources described as the “miraculous disappearance of dockets” as well as abuse of office by senior police officers.
“The whole organisation is in a mess, if truth be told,” an official said.
“There are no uniforms now and officers with old and torn uniforms cannot get them replaced. There have been allegations of corruption in the procurement division, particularly regarding vehicles. You will remember that government last month decided that police needed to be given new operational vehicles and before that the Office of the President and Cabinet assessed the previous procurements and realised serious anomalies which are now subject to a wide-ranging investigation. So virtually no one is being spared, not even the commissioner-general and his deputies.”
As part of the blitz, Sacu last week arrested and dragged to court a top CID officer Thomas Mabgwe, who is facing bribery charges for allegedly receiving two residential stands from businessman Felix Munyaradzi’s company, Delatfin Civil Engineering.
Magbwe was the investigating officer in the case in which Munyaradzi, now out on ZW$55 000 bail, is facing charges of allegedly selling state land and stands, which had not be serviced.
Munyaradzi allegedly duped a number of people, including senior police officer Erasmus Makodza.
Mabgwe works in the ZRP CID Headquarters Legal Department and has arrested many high-profile people on fraud charges. Mabgwe is currently in custody after the court last Friday denied him bail.
To date other top police officers that have been arrested include assistant commissioner Obey Moyo as well as investigators, Claudious Majonga, Aaron Karuru and Naboth Nyachega.
“As we speak, there are top people who may soon be arrested. In fact, the Sacu has been trying to arrest one of the deputy commissioners-general, but somehow could not effect the arrest. We don’t know how long and what it is going to take,” an official said.
Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo confirmed the investigations in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday, but declined to give details claiming doing so could compromise their work.
“Yes, the investigations are going on, but we don’t normally confirm investigations which will be compromised through reporting. So when we are ready we will let you know,” she said.
Sacu chairperson Thabani Mpofu also declined to comment saying: “When everything is ready you shall be notified”.
Contacted for comment, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, in a telephone interview, dispelled the corruption reports saying all ZRP procurements were done procedurally through open tenders.
“We normally buy our vehicles through open tender and we are very transparent. Maybe it is the other government departments that were given that instruction (to do procurements through CMED),” Matanga said, professing ignorance about any corruption investigation targeting the police chiefs.
Matanga is deputised by four deputy commissioners-general who are responsible for administration, operations, human resources and crime.
Last year, a top ZRP officer, assistant commissioner Clever Macheka, was implicated in a well-orchestrated police corruption scam by a subordinate who was eventually granted protection by the High Court after exposing the alleged dirty deals.
Macheka’s alleged corrupt activities were exposed when his junior, an assistant inspector, a Mutindi approached the High Court challenging his unlawful transfer after exposing extortion scams at police stations orchestrated by top cops. Mutindi dragged Macheka, the chief staff officer human resources at Police General Headquarters and Matanga to court after he was transferred from Hatfield Police Station to four other stations within a 13-month period during the course of last year.
Efforts to get a comment from the OPC chief secretary Misheck Sibanda were fruitless as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone. Presidential spokesperson George Charamba was also not answering calls.