The Zimbabwe Republic Police has urged illegal foreign currency dealers (also known as money changers ) to come out of the closet and report rogue police officers who steals from them and they develop cold feet to report in fear of arrest.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said there have not been any more reports of such a nature except for the four officers who are already answering to the charges.
This follows widespread reports that some unscrupulous cops were targeting money changers and confiscate their money and convert it to personal use.
“We have not heard of such allegations except for the four officers who are already before court but we have to put it on record that we do not condone any acts of criminality amongst our ranks,” he said.
There has been running battles in the Central Business district between illegal forex dealers and officers with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) leading to arrests but only petty amounts have been recorded from the alleged ‘money changers’ as they feared arrest.
At least eight people accused of exchanging foreign currency are hauled before the courts on a daily basis to answer to charges of contravening the exchange regulatory act after having been found in possession of moneys that rarely exceed USD $1000 making it impossible to understand who fuels and circulates sums of money in the streets.
A survey by this publication has however proved that a few individuals who are found in possession of large sums of money are actually arrested and face charges before a court of law as the matter is dealt with in the backseats of most tinted cars that are always parked around the Joina City and Avenues area.
There seems to be a mutual unspoken understanding between these forex dealers with members of the police force that are tasked to clear the blackspots where they are found.
One young man who deals in foreign currency who we contacted for a comment under conditions of anonymity revealed that members of the police force were demanding ‘cuts’ from any persons found wanting.
“In the event that you are found wanting by these police officers and you have no way around it, you have to reach an agreement with them depending on the amount of money you would have been found with,” he said.
“If these officers are under pressure from their bosses they will have to arrest us regardless but we give them a bit of money so they can confiscate only a small amount from the money we would have at the time.
“It is more of a pay as you earn situation, the more money you are found with, the more money you pay them. You do not exactly have a choice as you also need to stay in the streets and earn a living.”
Four members of the police are currently on remand while they wait to be tried in a matter in which they reportedly stole USD $11 000 from a USD$200 000 loot they were meant to secure after surrendering a meagre USD $20 000 with the authority.
Had it not been that USD $11 000 was found missing, the matter would have not seen the light of day as it had been covered up already using the modus operandi that has been employed already.
A well – known money changer in the capital (name supplied) allegedly lost almost $1 million to robbers who worked in cahoots with some rogue cops.