The Zimbabwe Republic Police has launched a probe on officers sitting on warrants of arrest issued against 26 convicts, who lost their appeals at the High Court, saying corrective measures will be taken against the culprits.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police had discovered that warrants of arrest and correspondences from the courts regarding the rearrest of the convicts, were not reaching the Police General Headquarters (PGHQ).
No arrests were being effected, resulting in scores of convicts who should be serving their sentences, unlawfully enjoying freedom.
This followed an investigation by The Herald which exposed that at least 26 people convicted of various offences were walking scot-free in Harare despite having lost their appeals at the High Court.
The scam pointed to corrupt tendencies by some bad apples in the police service who were defeating the ends of justice by protecting criminals.
In an interview, Asst-Comm Nyathi said the police service does not condone corruption and action will be taken against officers found guilty of the offence.
"As ZRP, we do not condone any acts of misconduct, which border on criminality.
"As we speak, we have instituted some investigations against some officers. We have discovered that some officers are receiving correspondences from the courts, of which PGHQ is not aware.
"It is now clear that those officers are sitting on these correspondences.
"I can assure you that corrective action will be taken against the concerned officers who received correspondences, but do not action them," said Asst-Comm Nyathi.
Asst-Comm Nyathi said police were now making a follow-up on the 26 convicts to ensure they are re-arrested and taken to court for committal to prison.
"We are now making a follow-up on the 26 convicts, who had their appeals dismissed and are supposed to be arrested and be brought before the court," he said.
Police hailed the media for exposing the rot in a constructive manner and in line with the President's stance against corruption.
"We want to thank the media for a job well done. Such an exposé helps us to make reforms and plug the loopholes in our systems," said Asst-Comm Nyathi. Investigations by The Herald showed that police had been receiving monthly updates on the people who should be arrested and the relevant police stations dealing with the cases, but no action was being taken.
On May 15 this year, Harare provincial magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro wrote to officer commanding Harare province briefing him on 17 convicts whose appeals had been dismissed.
The briefing was a follow-up to warrants of arrest that had already been sent to the police stations.
The officer-in-charge Harare Magistrates' Court police post, confirmed receipt of the correspondence through a date stamp on May 16, but no action was taken.
Not even a single convict has been re-arrested. Eight more warrants were sent to other police stations last week and the court briefed the police provincial head through another correspondence dated June 20 this year.