Extortion lands 'cops' in trouble

BULAWAYO - Two members of the neighbourhood watch committee here have been dragged to court after they were arrested for demanding a $40 spot fine from a man they had caught smoking dagga.

Joseph Smart, 25, together with his colleague Pride Gomo, 22, were not asked to plead when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Abednico Ncube to answer extortion charges.

The two were remanded in custody and will be back in court tomorrow.

The court heard that on January 13, the two accused persons found the complainant Prince Chimanga smoking dagga at corner Five Street and 5th Avenue in the city.

It is alleged the two identified themselves as police officers before they informed him that he was under arrest for smoking the prohibited stuff.

They immediately handcuffed him before they started assaulting him with open hands for behaving in the manner he did in public.

Upon searching him, they discovered a twist of dagga.

Realising how ugly the situation had suddenly turned out to be, it is alleged the complainant asked to pay a spot fine to which the accused consented and charged $40.

Chimanga reportedly failed to raise the amount a move that forced him to sell a pouch of potatoes he had for $16.

When he handed it over to them, the accused said it was not enough to secure his release.

Gomo, confiscated the complainant’s cell phone and two packets of grape fruits as security for the $20 balance which he was supposed to bring forward the following day. As a result he was released, the court heard.

The following day, Chimanga decided to file a police report instead of settling his balance with the two accused persons.

A trap was then set up, a move which saw the $20 note being serialised.

This led to the two being nabbed and the cell phone and the grape fruits were recovered.

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