MASVINGO-Corruption at Covid-19 quarantine centres where diaspora returnees are staying has reached alarming levels with officers from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and ZRP now selling beer and cigarettes to inmates against the dictates of the lockdown measures.
A source at the Masvingo Polytechnic quarantine centre told The Mirror on condition of anonymity that the officers are making money as they are selling the goods in foreign currency because the inmates are not allowed to go out of the premises to buy anything as they are under mandatory quarantine for 21 days.
“Since Thursday last week …(name supplied) has been selling Super beer from 4pm until 7pm to the inmates at 100Rand each. He would smuggle in a six pack in a satchel until all the cases are finished. On Saturday I saw him with a red Changani bag containing four cases of six packs of Super and went into the hostels where the returnees are staying. In an hour’s time all his stuff was finished and he assumed duty.
“Sergeant….(name supplied) from ZPCS would also bring cigarettes, lemons and airtime for sale to inmates where one lemon was sold for 5R and cigarettes were going for 100R per pack, these guys would not allow any other person to sell goods at the College,” said the informant.
When contacted for comment Masvingo Province Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Charity Mazula said she was not aware of the matter but promised that investigations will be carried out to flush out the corrupt officers.
It is also believed that the returnees who have escaped from the quarantine centres across the country are doing so with the aid of security officers manning the institutions after getting bribes.
The informant also told The Mirror that people are visiting their relatives who are quarantined at Masvingo Poly during the day after paying officers on duty against the isolation measures.
“On Saturday an inmate was allowed outside the premises to talk to his relatives who had come to see him for more than an hour. We later learnt that he said he had sought permission from the Ministry of Social Welfare who gave him the greenlight to see his relatives.
“Many a times the returnees receive visitors and they say they have permission from the social welfare officials to get goods from their relatives. They bring peanut butter, maputi, clothes and cerevita among other items,” said the informant.
When contacted for comment, provincial social welfare officer Sanyangowe expressed shock at the developments.
“We have never and will never give permission to relatives to visit returnees and for returnees to go out of the premises where they are housed as this is very risky in the event that one is infected with the deadly virus. Those who are allowing returnees to roam around are doing it against the dictates of Covid-19 lockdown measures,” said Sanyangowe.
Masvingo Poly has a capacity of taking 200 returnees and currently there are 177 inmates, 95 men, 70 women, six boys and six girls.
Returnees are expected to stay under quarantine for a mandatory 21 days while undergoing tests to ascertain that they do not have Coronavirus which has claimed over 300 000 lives and affected 5million plus globally. In Zimbabwe officially there are 63 cases, four deaths and 25 recoveries as of today.