POLICE swooped on the Kwekwe district public works officer Joseph Chabata (46) on Monday night at a local bar for allegedly receiving a bribe from a building contractor Peter Dzama.
Chabata appeared before Kwekwe resident magistrate Taurai Manwere on Tuesday facing charges of corruption after being found with $250 of marked money in his pockets minutes after receiving the alleged bribe from Dzama.
It was the State’s case that sometime in 2013, Dzama was awarded a contract to build a state-of-the-art computer laboratory block at Fitchlea Primary School in Kwekwe by the School Development Association.
After Dzama had won the $38 000 contract, Chabata is alleged to have attempted to stall work on the project and told the contractor that he would only allow the project to continue if he was paid $2 000 in bribe money.
As the district public works officer, it was Chabata’s duty to approve any government construction works before they kicked off.
His duty includes inspecting work on site to see if it meets government standards before allowing the contractor to continue to the next stage.
It was alleged that Chabata wanted the money so he could approve all stages of construction of the computer lab.
The State said between February and March this year, Chabata received two installments to the tune of $600 from Dzama as part payment towards the bribe.
However, the contactor reported the matter to the police and a trap was set.
Chabata was handed over the marked trap money at a local bar and minutes after Dzama had left with the money, police pounced on him and found him in possession of the money.
Chabata pleaded not guilty to the charges and instead told the court that Dzama owed him money. Tinashe Mhonda prosecuted while Chabata, who was remanded out of custody to July 23, was represented by James Magodora.