by Richard Muponde/Nhau Mangirazi
A POLICE boss and 12 of his subordinates who were part of a crack team targeting machete gangs in Chegutu, have been arrested for allegedly extorting money from miners after threatening to impound their mills.
The 13 were arrested on Tuesday after the complainants made a police report and also made a follow-up demanding to be refunded their money
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was not available for comment yesterday, but investigations revealed that the case was being investigated under CR11/02/20.
According to an internal Zimbabwe Republic Police memo, the police boss, who is also a chaplain, and his co-accused, from different stations in Chegutu district, were part of a crack team formed to deal with machete gangs, unlawful entry, robbery and hunt down wanted persons.
They were supposed to operate day and night especially in the Chegutu central business district (CBD) and Pfupajena areas from January 23 to February 6.
On February 3, they were supposed to proceed to Gadzema and Chigwel farm for operations.
However, they allegedly teamed up, armed themselves with rifles and drove to Chakari using an unregistered Toyota Hiace.
On arrival they went to the Chavechase compound where they proceeded to Michael Chaponda’s homestead. Chaponda owns a hammer mill.
They allegedly ordered him to give them US$300 as a bribe, but Chaponda only managed to raise US$150, which he handed it over to the crack team.
He was ordered to mobilise all miners who owned hammer mills and ball mills and gather them at one place in the compound. Chaponda brought in Winnie Nyani, Tapfuma Mashupiko and Enerst Arimoni.
The trio was ordered to pay a US$300 fine each or risk losing their equipment and they allegedly surrendered $2 900 and US$250.
The team drove off from the scene in their unregistered vehicle.
But the following day the miners reported a case of extortion at Chakari police station and the officer in charge advised his boss, Chief Superintendent Mazambani, the officer commanding Chegutu district.
On the same day Nyani, Mashupiko and Arimoni went to Chegutu police station where they demanded their money from the 13.
An investigation was carried out leading to the arrest of the 13 and nothing was recovered.