Senior Court Reporter
A police officer stationed at ZRP Goromonzi has appeared in court on allegations of demanding a bribe from a motorist he had arrested with a colleague while undertaking an unsanctioned lockdown Covid-19 enforcement deployment in Harare’s city centre.
The police officer, Blessing Fashitudu (29), was also allegedly found in possession of a stamped Covid-19 exemption letter bearing a forged signature of another police officer employed in the Intelligence Unit at Goromonzi police station. Fashitudu appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court charged with extortion and possession of articles for criminal use.
He was not asked to plead to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Ms Tendai Muchini, who remanded him to February 25 on $5 000 bail. Circumstances leading to his arrest are that on January 18, Fashitudu and his workmate who is still at large, deployed themselves in the capital’s city centre.
They allegedly stopped Knowledge Makosa, who was driving a Toyota Wish at the corner of Jason Moyo and Harare Street. Fashitudu and his colleague were wearing police uniforms, according to the State. It is said the police officers told Makosa, who was with his niece Joice Chikanya, that he was under arrest, but did not disclose the nature of the offence.
Fashitudu and his friend allegedly ordered Makosa to drive to Harare Central Police Station. Along the way, the two cops started demanding US$100 from Makosa and his niece to buy their freedom. The court heard that Makosa told them that he had no money resulting in his niece volunteering to give the two police officers US$17, she wanted to use to buy medicine for a relative that was admitted to West End Hospital.
It was said that Fashitudu and his accomplice turned down the US$17 offer, claiming it was too little. Upon nearing Harare Central Police Station, Fashitudu asked Chikanya to give him the US$17 they had initially turned down.
He was handed the money and disembarked from the car.
The transaction fell in the eyes of Constable King Ziwa from the Police Intelligence Unit (PPU) section, who asked Makosa and his niece of what had transpired.