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Stealing from the state and impoverishing the nation: Zimbabwean traffic police officers pocketing huge sums of money through bribes at checkpoints
Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)
November 05, 2012

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Executive Summary

Corruption by Zimbabwean Republic Police (ZRP) traffic officers is worsening. On the 9th of October 2012, police officers manning checkpoints between Plumtree and KweKwe were paid bribe money for which they did not issue any receipts.

However, police officers between Plumtree and Bulawayo were more corrupt as compared to their colleagues between Bulawayo and KweKwe. They were paid bribes at six (6) of the seven (7) checkpoints, which constitute 85.7% prevalence. The 8th incident took place on the 20th of October 2012 close to Redwood between Plumtree and Bulawayo. There were five (5) checkpoints between Bulawayo and Gweru and only one incident of corruption was recorded at 11:24 a.m on 9 October 2012, when the driver was stopped for over speeding.

The driver begged for forgiveness but the police officers demanded a bribe which he paid before being allowed to proceed. No receipt was issued. There were no incidents of corruption between Gweru and Kwekwe.

The sin of corruption is now deeply rooted to such an extent that the culprits are demanding bribes publicly as if it is normal to do so. This raises eyebrows on why they are not arrested since there is no secrecy about their dealings. It should be very easy for the ZRP management or administration and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to catch the culprits red-handed and prosecute them.

Furthermore, the number of random checkpoints (also known as flying checkpoints, mobile checkpoints, or hasty checkpoints) were too many, which significantly delayed and milked motorists. The bus departed Plumtree border post at 7:26 a.m and arrived in Bulawayo at 10:10 a.m, over a distance of 100 kilometers, and the delays emanated from police checkpoints where police officers were negotiating bribes.

In addition to the above, some police officers have accumulated wealth which they cannot justify against their monthly salaries. Using proceeds of corruption, some police officers bought personal vehicles and commuter omnibuses of their own which operate hassle free and some have bought houses to name but a few.

The findings also suggest that traffic officers share their daily bribe takings with their bosses in the offices, failure which they risk being transferred to non-lucrative assignments.

In its 2010 report named Mini-Assessment Report: Corruption by traffic police officers and vehicle drivers in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe', ACT-Southern Africa made the following recommendations:

  • The governments should monitor their traffic police officers on a constant but irregular level to ensure that those involved in corrupt activities are caught and exposed;
  • Whenever possible, governments should lay traps and all those caught should be prosecuted and dismissed from the police service;
  • Anti-Corruption bodies should be empowered to deal with these kinds of offences to ensure that they augment the police, which in many instances cannot fairly investigate itself; and
  • Finally, laws, policy and practice should be established that encourage whistleblowers to come forward and report corruption, especially those that feel tempted to pay bribes.

In keeping thereof, the above recommendations are reiterated. The report also makes additional recommendations.

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