Ivory case sucks in anti-corruption body

Source: Ivory case sucks in anti-corruption body | The Herald 08 NOV, 2019

Herald Reporters
Several senior police officers are under investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) after 11 constables complained they had been blocked from searching a businessman they suspected of illegally possessing ivory.

The constables were arrested and have been counter-charged by their seniors with extortion.

ZACC, which now has to establish which of the two groups is actually corrupt and who is telling the truth, was drawn into the dispute between the senior officers and the constables as a result of a report from the 11, from several stations in Harare.

The constables recently reported that they tracked a businessman they suspected of illegal possession of ivory from Harare’s central business district to his business premises in Borrowdale.

While investigating the case, another armed team of detectives and officers from the Support Unit was sent by their bosses to block the arrest.

Instead of searching, and arresting the businessman if he did in fact have ivory, the 11 were themselves arrested on allegations of attempting to extort cash from the businessman.

The constables filed a counter-report against their bosses, accusing them of obstructing the course of justice in a bid to protect the businessman.

When no action was taken, the 11 filed a report at ZACC.

ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo confirmed receiving the report, saying investigations were underway to establish the truth.

If ZACC finds substance in the constables’ report, the senior officers are “likely to be charged for obstructing the course of justice and criminal abuse of office”, she said.

On the other hand, police have since instituted disciplinary proceedings against the 11 constables.

The police accuse the 11 of storming Mr Vaya Sanjay Keshavji’s Borrowdale premises while driving in two unregistered vehicles -a Black Nissan Caravan and a cream Nissan Sunny.

Three were reportedly wearing anti-riot gear, while eight were in plain clothes.

They reportedly introduced themselves as officers from Harare Central operations section.

They allegedly indicated to Mr Keshavji (48) that they had received information that he was illegally dealing in gold and foreign currency, before demanding to see documentation authorising him to operate.

It is alleged that the businessman became suspicious and told the 11 to remain at the reception while he went into his office where he alerted the senior police officers.

A reaction team comprised of a strong team from the Criminal Investigations Department and Support Unit then swooped in and arrested the 11.