TWO men who allegedly masqueraded as police officers and demanded $40 from a Pumula East vendor, who they threatened to arrest if she did not pay them, but later extorted only $1, were yesterday locked up in remand prison.
Alexio Musimurimwa (31) of Sizinda and Pesanayi Ratisai (29) of Sidojiwe Flats in Bulawayo denied the extortion and impersonation charges when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa yesterday.
The magistrate remanded them in custody to today after prosecutor Munyonga Kuvarega called the complainant, Ometty Dube (60), to testify in court.
Dube, who works at a house in Bradfield, told the court that on March 14 this year she was selling her wares, which included cigarettes, when she was approached by the two at around 5pm after she had dismissed from work.
Dube, when asked whether she knew the two, said she knew them from the day they arrested her.
“They approached me and said they needed cigarettes,” she said.
“The first accused (Musimurimwa) is the one who said he wanted cigarettes.
“They said they wanted a full packet and I had only two full packets, one Madision and another Everest.
“I told them that there were only two full packets.”
Dube claimed the two told her she was under arrest and they were police officers stationed at Drill Hall.
She said she believed they were cops and Musimurimwa produced an identity card which looked authentic.
“They demanded $40 as a fine for the four packets of cigarettes I had, although some of them were not full,” Dube said.
“They said they were police officers under the cigarettes licensing control section.
“They claimed I was selling cigarettes without a licence.
“I told them I did not have money. They demanded $20, but I said I have no money. They demanded $10, but I told them I did not have it.
They demanded $5, I said I had no money and they demanded $3 and I told them I had no money. That is when the second accused (Ratisai) said I could give them a $1 bribe.
“I then gave them a $1 and they said they were taking my cigarettes as well.”
She said the two were arrested after a witness had told her that they were not police officers.
In denying the charges, Musimurimwa said he could not recall what really happened on the day, as he was too drunk. He said he only remembered that he had $2 and he bought cigarettes from Dube, and he was given a $1 and R7.
He said when he was buying the cigarettes, his friend left him and when he followed him they were arrested by the police.
Ratisai said he did not notice what happened when his colleague was buying the cigarettes, as he left him standing with the complainant.
He said he was only arrested after Musimurimwa came to where he was with the police who had already arrested him.
The court heard that on March 14 at 5pm, the two approached Dube and informed her she was under arrest before demanding a $40 bribe.
Dube pleaded with them, saying she did not have the money.
She later gave them $1, which they took in exchange for her freedom.
The two were arrested immediately after allegedly committing the offence.