An exhibit officer based at CID Vehicle Theft Squad in Southerton Harare reportedly swallowed $10 bribe money after being busted by a “trap team”, a court heard.
Grace Tsingano, 35, received the money from a motorist she had entered a deal with not to impound his car, unaware that detectives were watching her.
Tsingano appeared before Harare magistrate Barbra Chimboza on Friday charged with criminal abuse of office.
She was remanded out of custody on $50 bail.
The complainant is the State represented by assistant inspector Stewart Rakabonga of Police General Headquarters Harare (PGHQ).
Tsingano is responsible for booking exhibits and undertaking restoration — a process of regularising car engine or chasis number with the one that appears on the registration book.
On March 7, Tsingano was at work when Charles Mutama brought his Mazda 626 for change of ownership. It was discovered that the car’s chassis number was not legible.
The court heard that Mutama was ordered to fill a restoration form before being referred to Tsingano’s office and submitted the papers.
It was alleged that Tsingano went through Mutama’s forms and advised him that she would impound his car and forfeit it to the State.
She reportedly demanded $20 from Mutama for his car not to be impounded and he asked for her phone number to transfer the money via Ecocash.
That same day Mutama advised PGHQ internal investigations department about the issue and a trap was set up on March 8.
Mutama then contacted Tsingano who agreed to receive $11 through Ecocash and agreed that the balance of $10 would be settled after successfully changing ownership of the car.
On March 8, Mutama returned to Tsingano in the company of “trap details” and handed over the $10 in two $5 denominations to the cop.
After receiving the trap money, the detectives followed Tsingano to her office and a scuffle ensued as she resisted arrest.
The court heard that Tsingano chewed the money and bolted out of the office.
The trap money was never recovered but Tsingano was eventually arrested.