Smuggler tries to bribe cop, arrested


Sukulwenkosi Dube, Plumtree Correspondent
A MAN from Bulawayo was arrested at Plumtree Border Post for attempting to bribe a police officer with 400 Pula in a bid to evade arrest for smuggling.

Gatsha Masotsha, 44, of Hillside suburb, was questioned by police officers for trying to smuggle 80 litres of petrol valued at P640 into the country from Botswana last Sunday.

Masotsha then offered Sergeant Archford Muguta money in exchange for his freedom.

The cop, however, rejected Masotsha’s offer and arrested him.

Masotsha appeared before Plumtree magistrate, Livard Philemon, facing smuggling and bribery charges.

He told the court that he needed to consult his lawyer before making a plea.

The magistrate remanded him out of custody on free bail to February 8.

Prosecuting, Rose Sibanda said Masotsha was arrested following a search carried out on his car on January 24.

“Masotsha arrived at the Plumtree Border Post driving a Toyota Ipsum coming from Botswana. He went through all border formalities and was intercepted by police at the entrance gate after he had surrendered his gate pass.

“Police detectives indicated that they wanted to search his car and they escorted him back to the border complex for searching,’’ said Sibanda.

She said police recovered 80 litres of petrol which were packed in four 20 litres plastic containers.

The smuggled fuel was valued at P640.

Sibanda said Masotsha went on to offer one of the police officers money for him to be freed.

“Masotsha gave Sergeant Muguta P400 and pointed out that it was payment for his release. He also pleaded with the police officer to allow him to proceed with the fuel to his destination,” she said.

Sibanda said the police officer did not entertain Masotsha’s plea leading to his immediate arrest.

Police confiscated the money which was meant for the bribe.

She said the smuggled fuel was seized by Zimra officials.

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