Bribery Storm Divides Harare City Police, Markets Department

Harare City Council (HCC) bosses are reportedly engaged in a bitter war over the collection of bribes from vendors operating illegal bookshops in the central business district (CBD), NewsDay has heard.

The clashes allegedly started after HCC acting markets manager Collen Tongoona issued receipts to some bookshops to operate legally in the city.

The move, according to a report at Town House, did not go well with some municipal police bosses who had been collecting bribes ranging from US$300 to US$400 per week.

Legalising the bookshops was met with excitement from the vendors who will part with between US$10 to US$15 per week.

However, municipal police officer swooped on the vendor operating along Rezende Street after they refused to pay bribes resulting in the confiscation of their books.

A source at HCC confirmed the fights saying the municipal police have been greedy leading to the clashes.

“The acting markets manager Collen Tongoona was aware of what was happening and he was aware that some municipal police were collecting bribes ranging from US$200 to US$400 per week.

“They were also not respecting him but since he was in charge of the markets he legalised some of the vendors resulting in the clashes.

“The municipal police under the instruction of their bosses were collecting bribes from book-shops for operating illegally,” the sources said.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume yesterday confirmed receiving the complaint over the bribes.

“I have received the complaint from the markets and I have an anonymous letter over the troubles, but these things can be investigated and no one is allowed to collect money.

“If you are caught on the wrong side of the law you will face consequences,” he said.

Meanwhile, former police assistant commissioner, Obeylaw Moyo, who was recently appointed executive manager in town clerk Hosiah Chisango’s office in charge of municipal police, has been accused of allegedly protecting some officers involved in corrupt activities.

Moyo is also accused of selectively applying the law after he recently suspended eight municipal police officers pending disciplinary hearings on allegations of extorting money from motorists arrested for traffic violations.

Moyo, however, dismissed the allegations saying he was aware of people driving a certain agenda.

“There is nothing like that. There are people down there who want to drive a certain agenda and we don’t know why they are doing this,” he said. NewsDay

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