At least 300 traffic police officers were sacked for corruption in 2014, and authorities have ordered a new computerised system to monitor all happenings at police roadblocks.
The cops were found guilty – among other breaches of the ZRP Charter – of receiving bribes from motorists who had fallen foul of road regulations.
Some of them are said to have mounted unapproved roadblocks to demand bribes from errant motorists. Crack teams assembled to fight graft in the force spearheaded the sting on their rogue peers.
The proposed new computer system will function in pretty much the same way tollgates on Zimbabwe’s highways are centrally monitored. Video cameras will be installed at strategic points to feed images to a central server where authorities can view footage.
A pilot project was commissioned in Harare last Thursday. Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo told The Sunday Mail that Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption drive had hit top gear in keeping with the 10-point Economic Growth Plan enunciated by President Mugabe in his well-received August 25 State of the Nation Address.
“We have always said corruption cannot be tolerated and perpetrators will be arrested, and corrupt police officers will be dismissed from the force. In 2014, at least 300 police officers were dismissed for receiving bribes, among other corrupt activities.
“We must admit that we need to computerise the traffic management system and that process is underway. It will enable us to monitor all roadblocks from a central server and plug the operations of rogue elements.”
Dr Chombo said police lenses were also on other sectors of society, with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission expected to lead the fight.
He said the names of prospective Anti-Corruption Commissioners had been submitted to President Mugabe for his consideration. Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee interviewed 26 potential candidates on June 2, 2015 and submitted a list to the President.
Interviewees mainly comprised retired senior police and military officers.
The anti-graft commission has been operating without commissioners since August 31, 2013 when contracts of previous office-holders, led by Mr Denford Chirindo, expired. In the absence of commissioners, the secretariat – headed by Police Senior Assistant Commissioner (Retired) Silence Pondo – has been unable to carry out investigations.
Dr Chombo said, “The President has said it several times and I am repeating it: We don’t tolerate corruption. As Government, we are serious about fighting graft, but the problem is some people make allegations without a grain of evidence.
“We are saying, ‘Let’s have the evidence so that we can deal with the culprits. That’s why we have suggestion boxes and toll-free numbers for those who suspect corrupt activities to report them. We can’t arrest people to investigate; we need to investigate first, gather our evidence and then pounce on the criminals’.”
National Prosecuting Authority corporate affairs manager Mr Allen Chifokoyo chipped in: “We are aware of the job at hand and as the prosecuting authority, we will deliver.
“There is no way all these investments will benefit the people of this country as long as there are corrupt elements in our midst. So, we need to make sure criminals are sent to jail.”
Economist and financial advisor Mr Kingston Khanyile said dealing with corruption would inspire confidence among investors and Zimbabwe’s general populace.
“A move to stamp out corruption by Government is always a positive one since it brings confidence to investors and the general populace.
“It will also give investors a positive belief, which will, in turn, improve our business environment since corruption is like cancer to business.”
In 2014, 33 traffic officers were transferred from their stations to other bases after being found guilty of soliciting bribes.
Last week, Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Martin Dinha appeared in court, facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
He was released on US$1 000 bail.
In early 2015, former Air Zimbabwe chief executive Peter Chikumba and company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi were convicted of corruption and jailed after prejudicing the national airline of millions of dollars in an insurance scam.