In a classic example of how corruption has sapped the country, police officers, from the rank of constable right up to superintendent, are alleged to have worked in cahoots with Alpha Construction boss Jonathan Gapare, who is reported to have fleeced scores of homeseekers in Cowdray Park.
Some junior officers at Western Commonage Police Station allegedly helped Gapare to force buyers to pay extra amounts after they had paid off their houses, while some senior officers at the Criminal Investigations Department offices at CABS Building in the city centre allegedly sat on reports of fraud filed by the residents.
One of the officers was, at one time, introduced to residents of Cowdray Park as Alpha’s public relations officer. Another literally camped at the Alpha offices, where he allegedly dealt with “trouble makers”.
According to sources, Gapare even referred to the police officers as his “security” which he could summon whenever he had problems with his clients.
Residents, on the other hand, referred to the officers as the “terror gang” because of the way they manhandled those who went to Alpha offices to query the exorbitant amounts the company demanded as extra payment.
A letter written to the Cowdray Park Section 12 Residents Association chairman Abednico Ncube by the officer in charge of Western Commonage on May 1 2004, following Ncube’s arrest after an altercation with Gapare, seems to suggest that there was indeed something going on, though police were on the defensive.
Ncube had filed a complaint with the police on April 14, following a misunderstanding with Gapare on April 9. According to the report filed by the officer, identified as Chief Inspector R Madiro, a file got torn during the scuffle between Ncube and Gapare.
Gapare called a Detective Sergeant Zireva, “who happened to be on a personal visit to Mr Gapare”, for help. Madiro said Zireva intervened to try to solve the misunderstanding between Gapare and Ncube, adding Zireva did not intend to prevent Ncube from presenting his grievance to Gapare.
Madiro said since Gapare had reported that Ncube had torn the file, Zireva had subsequently arrested Ncube.
“Detective Sergeant Zireva reacted just like any other police officer would react in such circumstances,” Madiro wrote.
Residents, however, told The Insider that Zireva was not at the premises by chance as the officer-in-charge implied. They claimed that he was always there when residents went to query extra amounts Alpha demanded and would often “encourage” them to pay up if they wanted their houses built.