The country instituted a lockdown in order to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, however this has paved way for corruption by military and police officers tasked to enforce compliance.
Motorists have fallen prey to members of the security forces (police and army) who have been ordered to control the movement of people.
This publication visited one of the hot spots this morning, Westlea Park, near Epworth following a tip off and witnessed chases between the members of the security forces and motorists.
The soldiers are threatening motorists who try to evade arrest, using catapults. The security forces are accusing motorists of traveling around in contravention of the lockdown measures and asking for bribes.
Meanwhile, upon arresting a suspect the police and the soldiers are demanding between US$5 to 10, or more depending on the number of the officers present.
They are threatening to take the suspect to the police station if they fail to pay the bribe.
“This day light robbery by police and soldiers, they are demanding cash in US dollars to set you free.
“If you don’t pay them, they take you to Domboramwari Police Station, where you are charged for breaking lockdown regulations,” said one motorist who declined to be named.
Another motorist who also fell victim to the security forces’ extortion is Jacob Madade, from Overspill in Epworth.
Madade told this news crew that because of the severity of the fines for breaking lockdown regulations, many motorists are finding it better to pay the bribe.
“They could tell you that if you don’t give them money, they would open a ZW$500 docket against you, failure of which you would be jailed for a year.
“Given the two options, one finds it better to just give them money,” he said.
Meanwhile, the new lockdown law prescribes hefty penalties of up to $36 000 or a year in jail for those who fail to comply with the regulations.
SI 99 says: “Any person who fails to comply with an order of an enforcement officer given under this section, or who hinders or obstructs an enforcement officer from having the access referred to in subsection (6), shall be guilty of an offence.
“And will be liable to fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”
Apparently, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) recently disclosed that it is investigating seventy-seven high profile corruption cases with potential prejudice of US$500 million.
ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, said this while giving a lecture at the Zimbabwe National Defence University.
She also revealed that there have been attempts by some political forces to stop investigations into corruption cases.
In the same light, the United States of America Senate has since called for strict measures in monitoring the US$7 million that has been availed to Zimbabwe by the World Bank.
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said steps should be taken to ensure that the money reached the right people.
“The $7M World Bank Grant for Zimbabwe reported today should come with strict transparency and accountability measures to ensure Zimbabweans receive services & support during COVID19, and that these funds aren’t lost to ongoing mismanagement by the Zimbabwean government,” he said.
Apparently, Zimbabwe is the 158 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.