Police fines raise US$38 million

Police fines raise US$38 million

Source: Police fines raise US$38 million | The Financial Gazette December 14, 2017

Zimbabwe Republic Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri

Zimbabwe Republic Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) collected $38,28 million in fees and fines in the nine months to September 2017, a revenue statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture has shown.

Police officials have always been cagey about how much they collect on the roads and, three years ago, reacted angrily to former tax chief Gershem Pasi’s estimation that the ZRP was collecting between $3 million and $7 million monthly. In June, former Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo told Parliament the figure was between $12 million and $15 million annually.

The ministry’s statement, signed by permanent secretary Melusi Matshiya on December 6, 2017, however, shows police on course to collect $51 million by year-end.

For the first time, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa incorporated income from statutory and retention funds, such as ZRP fines, in the National Budget statement.

The minister has promised greater transparency in the management of the retention funds, created during the hyperinflation phase when government allowed certain departments to retain cash and avoid the rapid loss of value that took place when the money was remitted to Treasury for subsequent disbursement.
The statutory and retention funds collect almost $1 billion annually.

The police’s aggressive revenue-collection methods, marked by a pervasive presence on the roads, have irked the travelling public.

The police have also been accused of hurting key economic sectors such as tourism, transport and distribution through the maintenance of too many road blocks.

Police presence has been dramatically scaled down, however, since mid November when the military took over key points on the country’s major highways as part of its intervention that eventually forced former President Robert Mugabe out of office.

Consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt public institutions in the country, the ZRP is currently being shadowed by army details. Obert Mpofu, the minister in charge of police, has undertaken to reduce the number of police roadblocks, while acting against corruption in the force.

A revenue statement by the ministry, carried in the 2018 budget estimates of expenditure, shows that the ZRP is on course to collect $51 million this year. The figure is expected to come down to $41 million in 2018, according to the statement.

Treasury data also shows that the Zimbabwe National Road Fund (ZINARA), which has also been plagued by allegations of abuse and fraud, collected $203 million between January and September 2017. ZINARA has a $285 million year-end target. The fund is expected to raise $300 million in 2018. A fund created to pay off fuel supply debts owed by the now defunct National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), financed through a levy on petrol and diesel sales, had raised $26,4 million in the nine months to September this year.

The fund is expected to raise $35 million in the full year to December, and the same amount in 2018. Motorists pay 6,7 cents for petrol and 1,3 cents for diesel per litre towards the debt redemption levy, which was introduced more than a decade ago.

The fund is estimated to have collected more than $300 million since dollarisation in 2009, but is somehow yet to fully pay off the NOCZIM debt.

An August 2010 policy document prepared by the World Bank in close consultation with government put the debt at $158 million, with $93 million of that due to foreign suppliers.

The Number Plates Revolving Fund, financed through the sale of number plates to motorists, raised $11 million between January and September 2017. The fund is projected to collect $14,1 million this year and $14,8 million in 2018. It costs about $7 million to produce the plates, annually.

Zimbabwean motorists pay $160 for number plates, significantly higher than their regional peers who pay an average $20. Government, which has in the past used the number plate fund to bail out Air Zimbabwe, has undertaken to reduce the costs of acquiring number plates.