ZIMBABWE – The Harare magistrates’ court has heard of how one cop allegedly asked US$481 from a suspect for his freedom.
Assistant Inspector Stephen Chikonzo, 45, from the Minerals and Border Control Unit Marondera Police Head Quarters was however not asked to plead to the criminal abuse of duty by a public officer when he appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe.
Stephen was granted $100 bail after the State had not opposed his bail and he will be back to court on December 8.
Indications are that Stephen demanded the money from the managing director of Manica Resources Pvt Ltd saying he could facilitate the dropping of robbery charges against him.
Allegations are that Stephen also demanded money so that he would release the complainant’s motor vehicle which he said was being held as an exhibit.
Reports are that the complainant paid US$481 but Stephen kept on asking for more money.
It is said that on December 31 2013, the complainant took 150kg of carbon material which is used to trap gold to Mathias and Mildred Elution plant in Mutoko for processing.
After processing the gold, the complainant returned to Harare the following day.
And the complainant is said to have received a phone call from Mathias Madzivanzira the owner of the plant who accused him of having participated in a robbery which occurred at the plant the previous day.
It is said that on the same day, the complainant was arrested by Stephen for robbery and he was taken to Mutoko Police Station where his warned and cautioned statement was recorded by one Constable Vuma.
Allegations are that he was later released and was told that he would be summoned if need be.
It is claimed that on January 3 last year, Stephen phoned the complainant and demanded some money so that he would drop the charges.
And it is also claimed that Stephen told the complainant that if he failed to pay the money, he would re-arrest him.
It is the State’s case that the complainant then transferred US$101 to Stephen’s Ecocash account and it is further alleged that the cop re-arrested the complainant the following week in Harare for the same charges and took him to Marondera Police Station where he detained him and impounded his vehicle.
And on January 7, the complainant was taken to Mutoko Police Station where another warned and cautioned statement was recorded.
It is also claimed that he was taken to Mutoko Magistrates’ court the following day and the police were ordered by the prosecutor to proceed by a way of summons.
Pursuant with his alleged actions, it is said Stephen ordered the complainant to report to Marondera Police Station the following day and collect his vehicle.
And when the complainant got to Marondera, he met Stephen in the company of one Inspector Chiuswa and the former demanded for some money for him to release the vehicle.
The State’s case says that the complainant gave Chikonzo US$350 and he was given back his motor vehicle.
On January 15, Stephen phoned the complainant demanding for more money and was given US$30.
The complainant was summoned to appear in court in October this year and during trial he told the magistrate of how Stephen was extorting money from him.
And the magistrate advised him to report the matter to the police leading to investigations which led to Stephen’s arrest.