HARARE – Three council officers are facing criminal abuse of office charges after they reportedly demanded a $260 bribe from a businessman to process his shop licence.
The trio — Jabulani Madoda, 45, Innocent Marimo, 49, and 32-year-old Tonderai Nemasango — appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande last week, who remanded them out custody to August 8 pending finalisation of investigations.
Prosecutor, Linda Gadzikwa, alleged that sometime in December last year, the complainant (unnamed) went to City of Harare’ Rowan Martin offices to apply for a shop licence.
The court heard that his application was turned down after council inspection officials concluded that the shop did not meet specific requirements.
It is alleged that the businessman complied with the requirements and returned to council offices, but was told that his application documents had been misplaced and would be contacted once the paperwork had been located.
On July 7 this year, Madoda, Marimo, and Nemasango allegedly connived and hatched a plan to swindle the complainant.
The court heard that they proceeded to complainant’s workplace and demanded to see his shop licence and were advised that he had not acquired one.
Madoda and his accomplices allegedly demanded $150 from the shop owner to assist with processing the licence and were given $100 in cash and EcoCash mobile transfer.
They agreed that the balance would be settled upon issuance of the shop licence.
The following day, Madoda invited the complainant to their offices and made him fill some forms before demanding further $60 and $50, and receipted both payments.
The complainant later sent his subordinate to collect the shop licence and that was when council authorities discovered that documents used to apply had been fraudulently obtained with forged signatures.
Council authorities allegedly invited the shop owner to their offices and he disclosed how Madoda and his accomplices demanded bribes from him.
The matter was reported to the police and the trio was nabbed while receiving $50 trap money.