Fake Municipal Police Officers have flooded Harare, and are preying on unsuspecting businesses by demanding bribes from them and threatening to close their operations in the Central Business District.
This has been revealed by the Harare City Council which said the fake Municipal Police officers come under the guise of enforcing the law by checking for shop licenses. Those who would be found without licenses are forced to pay bribes, to avoid threats of closing shop.
“The City of Harare wishes to inform residents and the business community operating in the city of the proliferation of unscrupulous and bogus municipal police officers who are moving around, soliciting for bribes from businesspeople under the guise of enforcing provisions of the Harare (Licensed Premises) (Amendment) By-Laws 2017 (No.3).
“Business owners who do not have shop licences have fallen prey to these unscrupulous elements who demand bribes, threatening to close down shops operating without licences or whose licences would have expired.
“All business licence renewals and payments are done at Rowan Martin Building. The City does not have “licence renewal” agents roaming around the city, soliciting for bribes. It is unlawful for any municipal police officer or any Council official to demand bribes from residents and business owners,” the statement reads.
The Harare City Council said it has formed an anti- corruption crack team that will carry out an operation to catch these fake officers.
“In order to flush out these bogus elements, the City has since formed an anti-corruption crack team that will react and investigate such reports with speed. The team will also be carrying out operations to catch the criminals in the act.
“We urge all residents and businesses to report any suspicious encounters with municipal police officers or Council employees demanding bribes. Contact the Acting Chief Superintendent Investigations of the Harare Metropolitan Police immediately,” the statement reads.