THE Police Internal Security Investigation branch on Wednesday night arrested two police officers for soliciting bribes from Mathias Ndlovu, the man accused of defrauding the Central Africa B
uilding Society (Cabs) of $432 billion.
The arrest came as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is understood to have expressed concern over Cabs’ “deal” with Ndlovu in which the building society reportedly tried to reduce the matter to a civil from a criminal case if Ndlovu agreed to pay back the money.
Sources say the central bank’s attorneys were worried that while the deal would help Cabs recover its money, it would at the same time set a bad precedent in the financial sector.
They said potential thieves would steal knowing they could buy their freedom by merely selling off their ill-gotten assets. They also said a number of people had been jailed for cases involving far smaller amounts.
The officers, Detective Inspector Nyasha Sereki and Detective Sergeant Bishop Thembani Sibindi, were arrested at Jamaica Inn along the Harare-Mutare Road where they had allegedly gone to collect the second tranche of bribes from Ndlovu to facilitate his acquittal in the alleged fraud case, which is not yet before the courts.
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka confirmed the arrests.
“We confirm the arrest of Detective Inspector Nyasha Sereki and Detective Sergeant Bishop Thembani Sibindi for soliciting bribes,” Mandipaka said.
Mandipaka said the two were currently held at Marondera and would appear in court soon.
Sereki and Sibindi fell into a police trap after they had gone to meet Ndlovu at Jamaica Inn to collect $100 million each as part of the bribe. Ndlovu had earlier allegedly given the two officers $50 million each as down payment.
Mandipaka said police had set a trap after receiving information from Ndlovu that the officers had solicited bribes to drop the case.
“We arrested them after they had just received $4 million each of the final $100 million from the informant (Ndlovu),” he said.
“We urge members of the public not to offer bribes to police officers and if they are approached for bribes they must immediatelyreport the matter so that the culprits are dealt with immediately.”