via The Zimbabwean | Zimbabwe News. 02 July 2014 by Tawanda Majoni
The police, through their hapless spin-doctor Charity Charamba, recently reacted angrily to a call by Gershom Pasi, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) boss, to surrender to Treasury the money raised from road blocks.
Pasi had claimed in Parliament that the police were raking in between $3 million and $7million from motorists every month. Charamba said the figure was false but, instead of giving us a breakdown of actual revenue collected, she launched a scathing personal attack on Pasi and the institution he represents.
It is easy to understand why. Clearly on instructions from her boss, Augustine “Fall Guy” Chihuri, she decided to get personal instead of factual in her response. The Zimbabwe Republic Police has tasted the sweetness of ill-gotten gains. I say “ill-gotten” because I am convinced they are robbing motorists and handling the largesse in an irregular, if not illegal, manner.
To start with, the police are flouting the provisions of Standing Order Volume 1 which, among other things, regulates how fines must be handled. The order stipulates clearly that money from fines must go to Treasury, via the courts and, therefore, the Ministry of Justice. It is a lie to say the police can retain the money for internal use—or abuse. This is because the Statutory Instrument (SI 164/2010) that gave them the power to do so expired long back.
Even a sekuru from Muzarabani knows that SIs expire after six months.
I suspect that the police abused their power and continued to act on the basis of an expired legal instrument because of the political dynamics that existed during the Government of National Unity (GNU) between 2009 and 2013. Remember, far from being a coalition, the government that existed then was merely a tattered matrix of divergent and conflicting political interests, with each party pulling in its own direction.
ZRP, in reality an extension of Zanu (PF), acted with impunity because Treasury fell under the Finance Ministry that was controlled by the MDC and Zanu (PF), having the political power, had the capacity to keep things that way.
SI 164/2010 stipulates that the police must make use of a mandatory national deposit fine schedule, but I am aware that this is not happening. Instead, all fines—minus, of course, those the traffic police tuck away into their own pockets when no-one is looking—are going straight to the Police General Headquarters’ (PGHQ’s) finance directorate.
Through that police document called Book 13, the money is used for all sorts of expenditures, among them buying luxury vehicles for top cops and bribing the traffic cops to remain on the roads to meet awkward targets through hazy allowances. It is an open secret that Highway Patrol officers who are deployed on the roads are receiving $65 a day for 21 days as a “travel and subsistence” allowance.
That translates to more than $1,365 a month for each detail, in addition to their official salaries. Who, in these circumstances, would not want to become a traffic cop, considering the poor salaries police officers receive? Add to that the fact that their supervisors, who remain in their offices, are also recipients of the allowances.
Besides, imposing targets on the traffic officers is un-procedural. Our roads are not a vending marketplace where traders are given targets to meet. It is possible that a day or even a week can pass without motorists committing an offence. Why then set targets?
I am sure it is not written anywhere that police officers must meet set targets, making the whole practice illegal and unacceptable.
I am aware that the police are now printing their own fines books, the famous Z69j. This is being done at Police Printers, instead of Printflow, the stipulated producers of the book. This has the potential of opening up the management of fines to a whole array of abuses. I notice that the new Z69j book printed by the police is different from the one that Printflow used to produce. This, surely, is against Standing Order Volume 1.
All the above is what Charamba must explain to us, rather than the hogwash she gave us when she responded to Pasi. – To comment on this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org