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Harare City Council UNDER FIRE after 10 City Police are ARRESTED

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Harare City Council is being accused of instructing its traffic officers to impound vehicles for offences before issuing out tickets in violation of city by-laws, a development that has resulted in 10 officers being jailed separately this year for criminal abuse of office.

Gilbert Nyenyayi (42), Fanuel Zivengwa (37), Simbarashe Shavi (33), Tinashe Samoto (31), Evermore Masuka (37) and Watson Sadza (40) — were recently locked up for an effective 18 months each in prison for the offence that borders on corruption.This brings the number of officers jailed this year for the offence to 10.The first quartet comprising Pardon Chifanza (26), Talent Mujere (25), Gerald Marwa (32) and Alpha Muzvidzwa (59) — was jailed 18 months each in March.

Two others, identified as Rukundu and Chari, were found guilty of criminal abuse of office and a Harare magistrate slapped them with 16 months imprisonment before some months were commuted to 210 hours of community service.Another officer Kosamu Ngoma, was convicted of the same offence and Harare magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo sentenced him to 420 hours of community service.

John Mapfumo was also arrested for related offences, but was discharged at the close of the State’s case by Harare magistrate Ms Vongai Muchuchuti.Some officers’ cases are still pending at court.In terms of Statutory Instrument 104 of 2005 of the Harare (Clamping and Tow Away) By-Laws, 2005, no motor vehicle can be clamped or immobilised without a ticket being issued.

Council management implementing its contested 14-day vetting exercise conducted at the holding yard, would instruct the juniors to clamp and tow away the vehicles and issue out the tickets at the end of the 14-day vetting process.In terms of the vetting process that also involved police, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Vehicle Inspection Department, Central Vehicle Registry and the Ministry of Transport, the last vetting desk was for Harare City Council.

Several officers, acting under the instructions of council management, were arrested for criminal abuse of office as public officers after they clamped and towed away vehicles without issuing out any tickets.Council is now under fire from relatives of the arrested officers and other council workers over alleged abandonment of the officers, who were neither assisted with legal representation nor morally supported by the authorities who issued the directives.

Workers committee chairman Mr Cosmas Bungu recently told The Herald that council was to blame for the arrest of most of the traffic officers.He indicated that council proved to be heartless by refusing to offer legal representation to the affected officers despite the fact that they committed the offence while trying to comply with instructions by their seniors.

“Whatever the traffic officers did, including clamping and impounding vehicles without issuing tickets, was a question of following directives from their bosses within the system.

“The instructions proved to be contrary to the by-laws and many officers were arrested for criminal abuse of duty. Council, having realised that the instruction it gave to the traffic officers was ultra-vires the by-laws, should have at least assisted the victims with legal representation.“Council should have taken responsibility since the officers were acting in terms of the directives and instructions from their superiors,” said Mr Bungu.

Several letters of complaint were written to the Chamber Secretary, National Prosecuting Authority and the Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing.

A departmental memorandum dated August 15 2015, from the Audit Department to the Human Capital and Public Safety, outlines the stages involved in the ticketing system stating that council will charge the motorists last despite being the impounding authority.

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