A Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officer and a nurse at a Beitbridge quarantine facility have been arrested for accepting a R500 bribe so they could look the other way and allow two deported Zimbabweans to escape from a quarantine centre.
The matter came to light when the two who had been deported from South Africa, were yesterday fined $20 000 each by a Beitbridge magistrate.
The court heard that upon arrival by road via Beitbridge Border Post, the two used fake names and addresses to register at the quarantine facility before making good their escape, allegedly with the aid of security officials.
Edith Gozoya had claimed to be Bridget Moyo when she arrived in the country on November 28, while her accomplice, Leeroy Mudakureva used Euwen Pepukai as his name.
The woman registered a Dulivhadzimu township address while Leeroy claimed to be of no fixed abode.
The two are accused of bribing a police officer, Christabel Dube, and a nurse, Crispen Mlilo, at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Hotel with R500.
The hotel is being used as a quarantine, isolation and transit centre by the Government.
Gozoya and Mudakureva, who were charged for contravening a section of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020, and were convicted on their own plea of guilty when they appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate, Mr Toyindepi Zhou.
In the event they fail to pay the fines, they will be jailed for four months.
Dube and Mlilo are facing charges of criminal abuse of office and were released from remand prison on $5 000 bail each pending trial on December 17.
Prosecutor, Mr Ronald Mugwagwa told the court that the two escaped soon after arrival and that Gozaya was arrested at her given address while Mudakureva was arrested at the Spillway as he attempted to cross back into South Africa.
Upon interrogation, he narrated to the investigators how they had executed their escape and implicated Dube and Mlilo, who were subsequently arrested.
Cases of people escaping quarantine and isolation at the NSSA facility are common.
Since the beginning of the lockdown in March, 253 returnees including Malawians, took to flight while seven were later accounted for.
The majority were deportees registering at the centre using fake names. ■