TWO police officers stationed at Southerton Police Station in Harare have been charged for allegedly demanding US$30 000 bribe from six suspected drug dealers they had arrested. It is alleged Pearson Manwell (27) and Kudakwashe Bere (44) with the assistance of two neighbourhood watch committee members who are still at large - arrested the six suspected drug dealers.
Among the six was a clearing agent at Nyamapanda Border post and a driver of a Malawi-registered truck which was carrying 2 400kg of mbanje with a street value of US$240 000.
The clearing agent, Tichaona Chimutsanya (33), and the truck driver Akidu Iweni Mukumba (37) have since appeared in court charged with dealing in dangerous drugs. Manwell and Bere yesterday appeared before magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe charged with criminal abuse of duty as public officers.
They were remanded in custody to today for bail ruling.
Prosecutor Miss Junior Mugebe alleges that on January 12 Chimutsanya and Mukumba acted in connivance with their four accomplices still at large to transport 41 bags of dagga from Malawi for resale in the country. They allegedly stashed the mbanje under hessian bags on the pretext they were delivering the bags for tobacco packaging.
It is the State's case that the gang drove to Washaya garage in Aspindale where they started offloading the dagga into their vehicles, a Kombi and a taxi.
They were confronted by Manwell, Bere and the two police constabularies while still offloading and they fled from the scene, the court heard. The officers called them back for "negotiations" and demanded US$30 000 from them to facilitate their release.
It is alleged one of the policemen drove the truck with mbanje to a secluded area where they were to be given the money.
Detectives from CID drugs received a tip-off and proceeded to where the police officers had parked the vehicle leading to their arrest.