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Senior cop demands car and US$4 000 bribe

by Staff Reporter
01 May 2013 at 20:57hrs | Views
A senior cop, Richard Mharakurwa, 35, of CID Beatrice allegedly extorted more than US$4 000 from a Gweru-based businessman so that he would not arrest him in a dispute with a Beatrice farmer.

Mharakurwa was on Tuesday not asked to plead to extortion charges when he appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Anita Tshuma who remanded him to May 13 on US$400 bail.

He was ordered not to interfere with State witnesses, to report once every Friday at Harare Central Police Station and to continue residing at his given address.
The complainant in the matter is Mr Firoz Hassim.

Prosecutor Mr Tungamirirai Chakurira alleged that on July 9 last year, Mharakurwa went to Mr Hassim's home and informed him that he was under arrest for fraud, hence he was taking him to Beatrice Police Station.

He allegedly demanded a US$1 000 bribe so that he would not arrest him and Mr Hassim complied.
In January this year, Mharakurwa went to Mr Hassim's home and demanded a vehicle, a Honda Fit, promising to close the case and not to bother him again.

He was given the vehicle.
Sometime later Mharakurwa demanded brand new tyres for the vehicle and Mr Hassim bought them for him.

The following month, it is alleged, Mr Hassim was summoned to appear in court, but the trial did not take off. Sometime in April, Mharakurwa served Mr Hassim with summons ordering him to appear in court and nothing happened at court.

It is the State's case that on the same day he demanded US$500 from Mr Hassim which he was given.

On April 16, it is alleged Mharakurwa called Mr Hassim and told him that the prosecutor wanted US$1 000 so that he could drop the case.

Mr Hassim agreed to pay the money before reporting the matter to Harare Central Anti-Corruption team.

The court heard that last week a trap was set to arrest Mharakurwa who intended to collect US$1 000 for the prosecutor at Houghton Park shops.

It is further alleged that he collected US$100 trap money in US$20 denominations and he evaded arrest when the officers pounced on him.

The detectives made a follow-up and arrested Mharakurwa at Hippo Bar in Beatrice and US$60 of the trap money was recovered.

Upon interrogation, it is alleged Mharakurwa said he sold the vehicle in question to Alexio Makuwerere, a car breaker of Vehicle Auction Centre along Bulawayo Road.

Makuwerere told the police that he stripped the vehicle and sold the parts, it is alleged.
The total value extorted is US$8 500 and only US$60 was recovered.

Hassim had a warrant of arrest issued against him over the dispute cancelled by Chitungwiza provincial magistrate Mr Kudakwashe Jarabini after he told the court that the policeman in question had summoned him to appear at Beatrice Police on the day he was supposed to attend court.

Source - Herald