BY STEPHEN CHANDENGA
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have bemoaned the involvement of police officers in stock-theft cases in Midlands province, with reports suggesting they are being paid as little as US$10 in bribes to facilitate cattle rustling.
Officer commanding Midlands province, Commissioner Winston Muza said the law enforcement agency had seen a sharp increase in the number of officers involved in stock-theft cases.
“We deploy our officers to clear cattle being sold,” Muza said at a business against crime consultative meeting held last week.
“It’s unfortunate that members of the public give our officers money to clear cattle even when they (public) don’t have evidence of owning such cattle.
“We end up having a situation where cattle are cleared on the streets and in offices.”
Muza said police officers were being offered amounts as little as US$10 to be involved in such stock-theft scandals.
He, however, said the police would not tolerate corruption in its ranks, and urged the public to report corrupt cops.
“We have a zero tolerance to corruption and we urge members of the public to report such rogue elements,” he said.
The province has in recent years witnessed a spike in stock-theft cases amid reports of connivance between some police officers and rustlers.
Some daring thieves, particularly in the Lower Gweru area, steal cattle from pastures in daylight and sell them to butcheries in the city.
Stock theft carries a mandatory 9-year sentence for each beast stolen.
In 2011, a Murehwa man was sentenced to 189 years in jail for stock theft.