Security officials accused of receiving Bribes to facilitate Returnees escape Quarantine Centres

Medical personnel check temperatures of patients visiting on April 25, 2020, the Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. - The number of cases of coronavirus in Africa is currently low compared to the rest of the planet: nearly 28,000 on the continent against more than 2.7 million worldwide, according to an AFP count. (Photo by ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP) (Photo by ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP via Getty Images)

HARARE – There is an alarming concern with the rising number of returning Zimbabwean citizens who are escaping quarantine centres meant to contain the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, it is however being alleged that security officials are receiving bribes to facilitate the escapes.

By Farai Maphosa

TSTnews spoke to one informant at Harare Polytechnic College which is a quarantine centre for returnees who alleged that government security officials manning the premise are reportedly receiving bribes ranging from as little as US$10 to electrical gadgets like laptops and smartphones to facilitate the escape from the quarantine centre.

“I am a non-teaching staff at  Harare Poly and have witnessed how some returnees are approaching security officials with bribes  so that they can be removed from the quarantine centres.

“It is either they offer cash which maybe as little as US$10 or a laptop and smart-phones,”revealed the informant .

In a tweet yesterday on the alleged escaped of 18 returnees at Mkoba Teachers’ College,permanent secretary in the ministry of information,Nick Mangwana , suggested that they could have bribed security since the place is   highly secured.

“Midlands 18 returnees are missing at Mkoba Teachers College Quarantine Centre in Gweru.These are 15 men, 3 women and a small baby. There is a 2m wall with a razor wire. ?Bribed Gate Security?,”twitted Mangwana.

Speaking at post-cabinet meeting on Wednesday ,the minister of information,Monica Mutsvangwa said the government is worried about the surge in escapes from the quarantine centres and is already beefing up security .

However, anti-corruption activist Terry Mutsvanga said the beefing up of security would amount to nothing unless the security officials face the full wrath of law for accepting bribes.

“Government should be honest enough to admit that it is their security agents who are receiving bribes to facilitate the escapes so this should be their first port of call to address this growing anomaly,said the Canada-based Mutsvanga who is founder  of Coalition Against Corruption(CAC),a civic society organisation advocating against corruption.

Currently , Zimbabwe is now battling a spike in COVID-19 cases with most of them being recorded from the returning citizens hence people are worried about the escapes from the quarantine centres by the returnees.