In a development that could act as a deterrent to would-be offenders, two municipal cops from Bulawayo City Council will spend the next three years behind bars after a magistrate in the second city convicted them extorting US$2 and Z$200 from vendors.

Understood to have been in the habit of demanding bribes from vendors on a daily basis, the pair of Musolina Moyo (49) and Sipho Ndlovu (47), came face-to-face with the horrors of legal brutality when they appeared before Bulawayo Magistrate Sangster Tawengwa, facing three counts of criminal abuse of duty as public officers.

Moyo and Ndlovu were sentenced to 36 months in prison each after the magistrate found them guilty of all the three counts they were facing. Tawengwa however suspended ten months from the sentence for five years on the condition that the two do not commit a similar crime within that period.

Prosecuting, Concilia Ncube told the court that the incarcerated cops committed the crime in August last year, New Zimbabwe reported.

It is the state’s case that on 20 August 2021, Moyo and Ndlovu arrested a one Eliah Machichamore, an illegal vendor, for operating in an undesignated area.

It is alleged that the two subsequently demanded US$2 from Machichamore so that they could free him. Using the same modus operandi, the two cops went on to arrest another vendor, Nicholas Zinyengere, whom they arrested for a typical offence.

“An hour later, the two municipal police officers approached Nicholas Zinyengere and arrested him for a similar offence before confiscating his wares. They demanded ZW$100 before releasing his wares,” NewZimbabwe quoted Ncube as saying.

All hell broke loose after the affected vendors decided to approach ZRP Bulawayo Central to file a police report against the two thieving cops. When they were searched upon arrest the police recovered R390, US$28 and ZW$885 from Ndlovu while Moyo was found with ZAR12. online.