ZRP spot fines illegal?


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A High Court judge says spot fines charged by the Zimbabwe Republic Police who often insist that motorists must pay or have their vehicle impounded are illegal and must be stopped immediately. High Court Judge Francis Bere said yesterday: “It has been reported extensively in the media that these collections by the police are meant to meet the force’s pressing operational needs.. I fully understand the predicament the Home Affairs Ministry finds itself in, but it occurs to me that currently there is no legal framework justifying the manner in which these collections are being done. There is no law which compels a motorist to deposit a fine with the police if he desires to challenge the alleged offence, but it looks like the motorists are being forced to pay these fines on our public roads irrespective of their attitude to the charges. Any attempt to refuse to pay is met by threats to have the vehicle impounded by the police…. The Section (356 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Chapter 9:07) compels the police to forthwith transmit all the documentation to do with the payment of spot fines to the court for confirmation by a magistrate…All these provisions of the law are being flouted, with everyone watching helplessly whilst this illegality continues. There may be no problems with the police operating as an extension of Treasury, but if that is what is desired, then the legal framework must be put in place to support such kind of a development.’’ While there might have been good intentions in adopting the system, it is grossly being abused and has opened doors for corruption. The Movement for Democratic Change at tone time complained that the Police Act must be amended because police officers were spending too much time at roadblocks looking for money while serious criminals were getting away. Zimbabwe’s police were rated in 2013 as the fourth most corrupt in Africa after those in Nigeria, Kenya and Sierra Leone.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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