By Simbarashe Sithole
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has suspended two of its Mashonaland Central province officials who are in court for allegedly soliciting for bribes from a mine manager in Shamva.
The two, Shepherd Maraga (39) and Tsaurai Gwaranda (44), are on $100 bail each on a charge of abuse of office.
Speaking to NewsDay, EMA spokesperson Steady Kangata said the two had been suspended from work while the organisation investigates their case.
“As EMA, we have since suspended the two officials from Mashonaland Central following corruption allegations against them. Our organisation maintains its integrity and any rotten apples will be thrown out. Disciplinary measures are being taken on the two,”Kangata said.
According to State papers, Maraga and Gwaranda hatched a plan to solicit a bribe from miners in Bindura and Shamva districts.
They allegedly approached Edmore Mazembe, who is the mine manager at Lion of Judah mining syndicate, Richlands Farm in Shamva.
They asked Mazembe for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate, which he failed to produce.
The accused allegedly solicited for $600 for them not to issue the company with a ticket of $5 000 for operating without an EIA certificate. They were given $400, leaving a balance of $200.
On March 20, Chief Superintendent Murenje authorised a trap to be set up to net the pair. Trap money in the form of $160 in $5 bond note denominations were photocopied.
On the same date, at about 12 midday, Maraga was arrested along the Bindura-Harare Highway after he received the trap money.
He then implicated his accomplice Gwarinda, who was subsequently arrested at Musonza Service Station along the Bindura-Trojan Road.
Kangata thanked the police for acting swiftly, while urging stakeholders to report any corrupt activities involving EMA officials.
“I would like to urge all our stakeholders, especially those in the mining field, to report any corrupt activity by our officials,” he said. “They should raise a red flag on those they suspect. Corruption has no place at EMA.”