By James Muonwa
A junior police officer has been sentenced to an effective one-and-half years in jail for demanding and receiving US$470 bribe from two marijuana dealers whom he had arrested.
Constable Panganai Munemo (29) of ZRP Chirundu Camp pleaded not guilty to two counts of contravening Section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9: 23 pertaining to “criminal abuse of duty as a public officer” but was convicted after full trial last week.
Provincial magistrate Melody Rwizi found Munemo guilty and slapped him with 24 months imprisonment, of which she suspended six months for five years on condition he does not commit a similar offence.
In his defence, Munemo argued he neither arrested the duo nor demanded bribes, before claiming the drug dealers wanted to fix him for his diligence as an “incorruptible” cop.
In count one, the state, case led by Tinoziva Chipupuri, was that on an unknown date but during the period extending from September to October last year at Zumbara police base, Munemo arrested Samuel Mudekwa for unlawful possession of 5 kilogrammes of dagga which he confiscated.
He then demanded US$250 from Mudekwa for his freedom and was bribed US$70 for the drug peddler’s release without charge.
In count two, the court heard that during the same period, the rogue cop arrested Kipa Museza for illegal possession of dagga and took 1×50 kilogramme sack and another quarter full 50kg bag of the banned substance.
Munemo asked Museza to pay him US$400 for his release from police custody or risk facing the full wrath of the law.
Museza paid US$400 to secure his freedom.
Both complainants reported the incidents to police, leading to Munemo’s arrest in February this year for acting contrary or inconsistent with his duties as a public officer.