|Non-Zupco kombis in Chiredzi|
…Govt’s hike of lockdown fines promoting corruption, motorists say
NGUNDU - The Ngundu-Chiredzi highway is turning into one of the biggest cash cow for corrupt traffic police officers manning various police check points along the road.
Transport operators who ignore the level 4 anti-Covid-19 lockdown are made to pay a R100 bribe at every police checkpoint for them to proceed with their journeys.
At three different police roadblocks, TellZim came face-to-face with this kind of corruption, with traffic cops brazenly receiving bribe money from pirate taxis.
A short distance from Ngundu growth point towards Chiredzi, a cop rejected R100 from one of the kombi conductor, demanding that he should make it R150 which he was later given.
A pirate taxi driver who regularly plies the Ngundu-Chiredzi route revealed that since the start of the lockdown, bribes were the only way to survive on the road.
“We are made to pay R100 at every police checkpoint. Since each two police shifts are deployed on each checkpoint of the road on an average day, we regularly pay the R100 twice per day. At each of the three check points, every police shift demands its own money. The greediest cops are at the Ngundu roadblock because they always demands R150 in bribes from each motorist who is on the road illegaly," said one of the drivers.
As was the case at Ngundu and at another check point just after Triangle, police officers were openly taking bribes without making any effort to conceal it.
Just before Triangle, motorists disembarked from their cars and placed the bribe money on a disused tyre where one cop sat benignly, pretending that nothing was happening.
Many motorists said government’s recent decision to increase fines paid by lockdown and curfew violators made it sensible for them to pay bribes than risk three months prison time after failing to raise money to pay the steep fines.
People who are caught moving around after the curfew are required to pay $20 000 in fine or spend three months in prison, while those that are caught without facemasks are now required to pay $5000, up from $500.