The Zimbabwe police headquarters has transferred all Beitbridge district cops over suspicions they were engaged in corrupt activities.
In a shock move on Wednesday, police officers from the highest rank to the lowest were transferred from the border town to other parts of the country. The transfers were effected by police communique.
A police radio communique referenced JC345/16 released Tuesday, gleaned by African News Agency (ANA), showed that more than 750 police officers were transferred from Beitbridge to other areas, while a corresponding number replaced them.
“No one knew when the transfers would come. It came as a shock today (Wednesday). What triggered the transfers were the corruption allegations levelled against most of the Beitbridge district police officers,” a police source privy to goings-on told ANA.
“The transfers were done by the police human resources at the headquarters.
“The issue of police failing to act during the protests at the border town is secondary. Usually, the top guys are the ones who have to answer for that when such situations happen.”
The source said cross-border traders were circumventing legal channels and would bribe police officers at the border post to avoid declaring their imported goods.
However, national police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba said the transfers were “not a new issue”.
“Use my response in The Herald and NewsDay,” she said in a text message.
In the two publications, she had said: “Ordinarily, police should be at a station for three years and not more. It’s common practice that they are transferred laterally. The government decided to transfer most civil servants at Beitbridge and police were the first to act.”
Beitbridge urban and rural had the biggest casualties, with 196 and 131 officers being transferred, respectively, while the border post had 76 of them moved to new stations.
The border town police criminal investigation department saw all 66 officers being transferred, while the criminal intelligence unit had 27 of them being moved.
Four seniors and their 16 immediate subordinates were also not spared.
The move also saw the noncommissioned officers as well as chaplains being moved out of town. All the transferred cops are supposed to report at their new work stations by August 23.
ANA understands government will soon transfer all civil servants in the border town to other areas.
This is not the first time the police has transferred its officers.
Two years ago, all 33 officers at Avondale Police Station in the capital, Harare, had to be transferred after similar allegations were raised against them.
– African News Agency (ANA)