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O País ( File photo) / Police spokesperson Inacio Dina
Two more members of the Mozambican traffic police have been caught red-handed extorting money from motorists.
Speaking on Tuesday in Maputo at his weekly press briefing, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Inacio Dina, confirmed that the two men (who have not been named) are under arrest, and are facing both disciplinary and criminal proceedings.
“They were filmed by a motorist and the video circulated on social media”, said Dina. A copy of the video was also sent to the independent television station STV, which has aired it repeatedly. The video shows the policemen stopping vehicles in the southern city of Matola last year, taking money from the drivers, and then sending them on their way.
The two police made no attempt to check whether the vehicles were in good condition. They just pocketed the money and sent the motorists on their way. In one shot, one of the policemen can be seen discreetly counting banknotes after extorting them from a motorist.
“We are against this sort of behaviour”, said Dina. “The police force distances itself from agents who act like this”. The two police in question have confessed and admitted receiving the money.
“All police agents know that on the public highway they must act only in accordance with the law”, added Dina. “We have been informed that several other videos have been filmed. Please send us these videos”.
In December, a policeman named as Jose Soares, who had been head of the traffic police brigade at the Moamba toll gate on the Maputo-South Africa motorway, was filmed extorting money from South African tourists.
“Open up!”, Soares can he heard saying on the video. “Four thousand, four thousand. Seat belts. That will be eight thousand meticais” (about 112 US dollars). The family of tourists did not have this sum on their person. After haggling, the officer accepted a note which appears to have been 200 rands. A member of the family then asked for a receipt, and Soares can be heard laughing as he walked away.
When Soares was arrested he was in possession of over 28,140 meticais in three currencies (meticais, US dollars and South African rands). It is believed that the money was the fruit of extortion, but Soares claimed it came from his wages, and he intended to use it for holiday purchases. However, he admitted to reporters that his wages are only 15,000 meticais a month.
Dina said that last year the traffic police inspected 47,000 vehicles and imposed about 6,000 fines on motorists. 36 vehicles were impounded, and ten people were arrested for driving illegally. 1,117 driving licences were seized because their owners were driving under the influence of alcohol.Source: AIM