Nearly 1 000 officers in the Police Mineral Unit have been transferred in a major shake-up believed to have been triggered by allegations of corruption.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
According to a police radio communication, RDO JC 202/14, DD 08/04/14, seen by The Standard from the Commissioner of Police’s human resources department to all stations around the country, the transfers of 951 officers was with immediate effect.
The transfers affected officers from the rank of assistant inspector and below.
Scores of police officers based in urban stations found themselves deployed to remote areas and vice-versa.
“The following transfers have been approved and should be implemented immediately,” said the cable whose subject was: “Transfer Assistant Inspectors and below +++ Stop.”
Close to 70 assistant inspectors were transferred, while the rest where detective assistants, detective sergeants, sergeants, detective constables and constables.
The cable listed the police officers’ force numbers, names and the stations they were transferred from and their new workstations.
Part of the police internal communiqué reads: “Please submit casualty returns as soon as the transfers have been implemented.”
Although the radio communication did not give the reasons for the transfer, some senior police officers told The Standard on condition of anonymity that the move was done to curb rampant corruption within the force.
There have been widespread allegations that the corruption was rife in the police minerals unit, with other senior police officers reportedly working in cahoots with illegal gold and diamond mine officials and workers.
There were reports that some police officers and soldiers deployed to curb illegal diamond mining in Chiadzwa in Marange district ended up joining the criminals’ syndicates.
Many police officers in the minerals unit have, like their counterparts in the traffic section and sometimes even more, transformed their lives in typical rags to riches fashion.
Last month, head of the Police Minerals Unit Senior Assistant Commissioner, Silence Pondo was quizzed by parliamentarians how the police force handled minerals recovered from crime scenes.
The police however said they were not obliged to hand over gold recovered from criminal scenes. The revelations raised suspicion that some officers could be corruptly disposing of the minerals into the informal market and pocketing the proceeds.
But Pondo said no police officer had been arrested since 2006 for theft of minerals.
There are concerns that most of the gold recovered was not being handed to Fidelity Printers, the government arm responsible for marketing of gold.
Parliamentarians observed the minerals were prone to theft as there was no transparency in the transportation of impounded minerals, especially in remote areas.
Efforts to get a comment from police national spokesperson, Charity Charamba were fruitless yesterday.