Witness nails 'bribe money swallowing' cop

HARARE - The trial of Mbare officer-in-charge who reportedly attempted to swallow bribe money following a trap yesterday took a new twist as a witness testified that she had always demanded money in exchange for free passage of commuter omnibuses.

Violet Sigauke is being charged with criminal abuse of office and trial proceedings are before Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube.

During trial yesterday, Kudzai Mapako — a commuter omnibuses manager at Mama Ru Transport — said he regularly paid Sigauke to have his kombis exempted from traffic police scrutiny.

“I had always known the accused person prior to the allegations in question.

“I would give her money in sums from $60 and we never had issues.

“On the day in question, she kept calling me demanding her $60 and I advised her that I was at Barclays Bank in Granitiside,” Mapako said.

“When she arrived I advised her that I had only managed to secure $40 but she did not accept it and advised me to bring the full amount.

“That was when I called Rueben Chimanja a fellow operator and asked him to give Sigauke the money on my behalf fearing the repercussions my business would suffer,” he said.

Mapako said his role in the deal ended there and he was not aware that a trap was imminent.

“When Rueben confirmed that he would give the accused person $60 on my behalf I was relieved....I did not know anything about the alleged trap,” added Mapako.

Sigauke’s lawyer Admire Rubaya quizzed Mapako if he was aware of Wilson Siwela — a commuter omnibus operator who was used to deliver the trap money and testified that he was also employed at Mama Ru Transport.

Rubaya said Mapako ought to be treated as an accomplice-cum-witness because he engaged in criminal activity by parcelling out bribes.

In Sigauke’s defence compiled by Rubaya, she challenged the admissibility of prosecution’s evidence on the basis that it was attained by police officers who indecently assaulted her.

Sigauke claims that she never received or swallowed the bribe money but claims she wrestled with the arresting details for 40 minutes as they tried to shove the bank notes between her breasts.

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