TOP TRAFFIC OFFICERS IN HOT SOUP OVER BRIBERY | Traffic cops convicted of accepting bribes will be handed custodial sentences with no option of a fine or community service, Bulawayo High Court judges have said.
Justices Nokuthula Moyo and Martin Makonese said this while dismissing an appeal by a traffic cop Loveridge Chikowore who was sentenced to six months in jail by a Gokwe magistrate for accepting a $10 bribe.
They said police officers who accept bribes are not suitable candidates for community service.
This was after the cop had claimed that the six months sentence was not proportionate to the crime he committed.
“There is an upsurge of corruption crimes committed by uniformed forces especially traffic police. Our duty as the court is to serve justice and we cannot let such people get away with community service,” said Justice Makonese.
On the other hand, Justice Moyo said Chikowore’s six months custodial sentence was appropriate.
“If we do not imprison police officers who accept bribes at roadblocks then who will be given custodial sentences? It should be clear that we do not encourage bribery in our community,” she said.
“We therefore think the magistrate did not err in passing the sentence. Therefore this appeal is dismissed.”
Gokwe magistrate, Mrs Sithabile Zungula, jailed the cop on September 19 last year.
In his notice of appeal, his lawyer Mr Prayer Muzvuzvu from Mugiya and Machagara Law Chambers said Chikowore was likely to lose his job which was enough punishment for accepting a $10 bribe.
“The trial court considered community service and discounted it on the basis that it will trivialise the offence. Notwithstanding that, the prosecutor submits that community service was appropriate given that accused is a first offender,” said Mr Muzvuzvu.
Mr Thompson Hove for the State said on March 24 last year at Kambasha road block along the Gokwe-Kwekwe road, Chikowore accepted $10 from Maxwell Maguduru to allow him to drive past the roadblock carrying passengers in a Toyota UD Truck.
In defence Chikowore denied receiving money from Maguduru.