Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
A GWANDA police officer has been arrested for allegedly demanding a US$270 bribe from a local miner to stop any police raids.
Blessing Zenya (32) who resides at the ZRP New Camp in Gwanda was not asked to plead when he appeared before Gwanda magistrate, Mr Ndumiso Khumalo facing two counts of extortion.
He was remanded to July 10 on $500 bail.
Zenya was granted bail on condition that he resides at the given address, reports twice a week at Gwanda Urban Police Station and does not interfere with State witnesses. The State was not opposed to bail.
Zenya was represented by Mr McAllister Ncube of T J Mabhikwa and Partners.
Prosecuting, Miss Faith Mutukwa said Zenya approached Mr Noah Chiruka who is a contractor at Flag Mine Block in Esigodini and demanded a bribe in exchange for undisrupted mining operations.
“On a date unknown to the prosecutor but in May at around 6AM Zenya who was in the company of an unknown person went to Flag Mine Block in Esigodini and the two introduced themselves to Mr Chiruka as detectives from the Minerals Unit in Gwanda. Zenya and his accomplice then persuaded Mr Chiruka to give them US$120 in exchange for undisrupted mining operations and he complied,” she said.
“On 25 June Zenya went to Flag Mine Block and demanded US$300 from Mr Chiruka and said it was for the protection of his mine operations as there was an ongoing operation which was targeting hammer mills.
Mr Chiruka handed over US$100 to Zenya who insisted that he wanted US$300.”
Miss Mutukwa said Mr Chiruka gave Zenya an additional US$50 and he left. She said Mr Chiruka alerted his other two counterparts who intercepted Zenya at Quicks Garage in Esigodini and they recovered the US$150.
She said Mr Chiruka reported the matter to the police resulting in Zenya’s arrest. — @DubeMatutu