Police chief admits officers are taking bribes
ZIMBABWE Republic Police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga, yesterday bared his soul confirming in Parliament that his officials are accepting bribes because of government neglect.
Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Health, Matanga said police officers have not been supplied with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and that they are not paid risk allowances being offered to other government employees working in the coronavirus (Covid-19) frontline.
“PPE have never been supplied to my officers. As we speak, some frontline officers in the ministry of Health are getting risk allowances but the ZRP has not been getting any. Police deployed at ports of entry and other areas are obliged to wear PPE, but like I said, they have never been supplied to our officers since the lockdown started.
“Police officers are not getting travel and subsistence allowances while on duty so they are hungry and on top of that are exposed to Covid-19 and end up accepting bribes. I kindly request you, as Parliament, to help us in that regard,” Matanga told the committee.
Health workers get a risk allowance from the government amounting to $1 500 based on the risk factor as determined by the authorities.
The health workers have been grouped into three risk categories — high, moderate and low risk — for the Covid-19 allowances.
However, Matanga told the committee that police and Zimbabwe National Army personnel are doing most of the work as nurses are almost always not at work.
“The situation on the ground is that while nurses would probably want to be at work, they are not there. The police and the army will be doing everything and you can go around Harare and Bulawayo and see for yourself.
“They end up doing things that are contrary to the police disciplinary code. We have received complaints about corruption at quarantine centres where food disappears inexplicably. We get complaints that officers are bribed by the inmates who have money when they want to go out to buy food. Interestingly, they also give food to my hungry officers. It is difficult to deploy hungry officers,” the committee heard.
The police chief said under the national lockdown, security personnel were “operating in a difficult if not dangerous situation” because some people come to town with their own agenda.
He also bemoaned the fact that some councillors are allegedly writing letters for people to travel under Covd-19 lockdown restrictions.
“Yet in terms of the guidelines that we have, they are not authorised to do so. I will arrest two or three councillors as an example,” said Matanga.