Stinking Scandal As Corrupt Beitbridge Soldiers, CIOs Set Free

Eyebrows have been raised surrounding the non arrest of allegedly corrupt soldiers and CIO officials from Beitbridge border post and as the scandal deepens, the security team has been hastily moved from the border in a suspected cover up.

Staff Writer
 
Some police officers have questioned why Zimbabwe National Army and the President’s Department officers were not arrested after 17 policemen with whom they worked were charged with abuse of office allegedly for facilitating a smuggler through Beitbridge.

The 17 policemen were part to a combined team on “Operation No to Border Crime” comprising all members of the Joint Operation Command who allegedly committed the offence last week.

The team of more than 300 was removed from Beitbridge in haste but not before the 17, all pleading not guilty, appeared in court and were released on RTGS 50 000 bail each.

They were each or collectively bribed by Tendai Kavhu to help him smuggle his large haulage truck into Zimbabwe avoiding undisclosed duty.

The truck was intercepted in Bulawayo.

Those in custody who did not have legal representation are expected on Monday for bail application after they secured legal services.

Their case has however been overshadowed by the non arrest of members of the ZNA and the CIO operatives who were party to the alleged offence.

Operation No to Border Crime was launched on January 5 this year after the Joint Operations Command held resolved to deploy police, the ZNA, the Airforce of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and officers from the CIO to arrest what they said was rampant smuggling and illicit human movement between Zimbabwe and SA.

At the different points they are deployed an official from each unit is represented and at all the points Kavhu passed he bribed all officers according to facts presented by Tawanda Chigavazira, prosecuting.

“On the 2nd of December, the interlinked haulage truck was allowed to pass through the border post without paying duty to Zimra. It was allowed to pass the Northern Gate at the Border, three police roadblocks at Makhado and Bangale  Turn-off along Bulawayo Road without a Zimra declaration letter,” said Chigavazira as basis of his case of abuse of office.

He said at all the points manned by the security details Kavhu paid his way out and the accused facilitated his passage for fees, alleged Chigavazira in his State outline.

Provincial Magistrate Vavariro Gavi presided on the matter last Thursday and remanded them to January 18, 2021.

National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could not be reached for comment on why only police officers were arrested.

“In all fairness all officers on dutywith those arrested should face the same charges. This is selectiven application of the law,” a senior police officer in Harare said.

“That is a joint deployment and and there is no way the charge is preferred to one section where all sectors are represented,” he said.

Government soon after the arrest of the 17 hastily removed their entire deployment making it difficult for police to locate outstanding suspects from ZNA, CIO and ZPCS and AFZ.

Police who arrested the 17 are from Gwanda.

Operation No To Border Crime has left more questions than answers after several security officers deploy3d were arrested for armed robbery and other crimes flying against their deployment mission.

An operation by SA Home Affairs filmed local security officers receiving bribes from travellers on the bridge.

The latest incident confirms the claim also supported by the numerous robbery incidences involving police and officers deployed for the operation.

At least 10 officers from those deployed in the operation have in the past arrested for different cases including armed robbery.

Although it was difficult to confirm, JOC members are divided about the operation where some politicians believe the presence of the military is unhealthy for their election campaigns.

A senior police officer in the Support Unit is also reportedly against the continuation of the operation.

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