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Zimbabwe system protects criminals, says Chihuri

by Innocent Ruwende
23 Apr 2016 at 12:58hrs | Views
Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri has claimed "the system" is protecting criminals who are destroying the economy.

Comm-Gen Chihuri said there were criminals who were able to buy their freedom and were protected by the State. He made the remarks yesterday during an address to the University of Zimbabwe Creative Writing Press Club where he presented a paper on pre-colonial and post-colonial policing challenges.

"ZRP will continue to employ all the legal instruments at its disposal to enforce discipline. We are firing officers who are engaging in petty crimes some of which involve as little as $2," said Comm-Gen Chihuri. "However, police corruption is not the one that has destroyed the nation. There are some criminals who are protected by the 'system'. They have so much money to corrupt the whole belt," he said.

Comm-Gen Chihuri claimed that during the Zimbabwe dollar era, there was a businessman who went to the United States with US$24 million, which he used to buy a private jet. He said the businessman then returned home, but died before the aircraft could be delivered.

Comm-Gen Chihuri said efforts by Government to recover either the money or the jet have hit a brickwall. "We were told that this was a business arrangement by an individual and where do you fit in as a Government?" he said.

He said Western countries did not have a problem if a Zimbabwean took money to their countries, but raised allegations of money laundering once there was an attempt to take money out of their countries.

Comm-Gen Chihuri, responding to questions on corruption in the police, urged Zimbabweans to desist from bribing police officers saying it takes two to engage in corrupt activities. He said there were also habitual criminals roaming the streets because they used their experience to evade the law. "We want to handle such criminals once, but these criminals know the field too much and they use their experience.

"Even the judges know them because they appear before them too often. "These criminals conduct mock trials at prison and they even tell others which lawyers to hire and those to avoid," he said. Comm-Gen Chihuri said there was also corruption at the courts and people were at times acquitted because of technicalities.

He claimed police officers were treated like accused persons, with magistrates sometimes asking them too many questions in a bid to find loopholes to justify the acquittal of accused persons. "Criminals and lawyers know the way out. They know the procedures, so they do not base their arguments on facts and people are acquitted on technicalities," he said.

"If I go to court, the magistrate may be busy and if something happens — corruption. The magistrate will ask 52 questions and the policeman will be like the accused person," he said. Comm-Gen Chihuri said some of the challenges faced by the police related to political activism.

In the past, he said, "rulers were not changed like clothes, but today everyone wants to be there. It was known that chiefs rule until they die," he said.

Source - the herald
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