A pastor at a Pentecostal church in Zvishavane has been sentenced to perform 420 hours of community service for impersonating a police officer and demanding a bribe amounting to $400 and R200 from a suspect.

He solicited the money from Yamurai Maphosa promising to destroy dockets for three offences she was facing. Jacob Tafa Zhou pleaded not guilty to a count of impersonation and one of bribery when he appeared before Zvishavane magistrate Mr  Tavengwa Sangster on Friday.

He was convicted after a full trial due to overwhelming evidence. The magistrate initially sentenced Zhou to six months in prison but suspended three months for five years on condition of good behaviour. The remaining three months were then commuted to 420 hours of community service at Zvishavane Police Station.

The State’s case was that sometime in May this year, Zhou approached Maphosa and misrepresented himself as a police officer stationed at Zvishavane Police Station.

He demanded $100 from Maphosa saying he would destroy the docket on a case of murder she is allegedly facing. On another day, Zhou phoned Maphosa and told her that another docket had been opened for assault and demanded $100 for him to destroy it and was given the money. Maphosa went on to give Zhou a further 400 rand when he told her that the case was still pending.

Maphosa reported the matter to the police when she later discovered that Zhou was not a police officer leading to his arrest.

Mr Stanley Ncube represented the State.