Monday, 25 January 2021

SIX HRE COUNCIL WORKERS CHARGED WITH COPPER THEFT


SIX City of Harare employees stationed at Public Lighting Section, suspected to be part of a syndicate involved in cutting Zesa’s armoured cables and vandalising transformers in Harare for the past two years, appeared in court yesterday on charges of violating the Electricity Act.

Kimpton Gweshe, Tichaona Matsiye, Wilson Kugowa, Joseph Muzingira, Lazarus Mabiza and Christian Rinemhota, who face minimum jail terms of 10 years if convicted, appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi on allegations of stealing 30 tonnes of copper cables worth US$300 000.

They were not asked to plead to the charges and are expected back in court today for their bail application.

Three other suspected members of the syndicate, Tonderai Chari, Martial Bicolus and Andrew Chipfunde are on the run, the State said.

Prosecutor Mrs Stylone Marufu said on Thursday last week, security guard Whitney Chapwanya, spotted the suspects loading copper cables into a Toyota Ipsum, registration number ABX 5091 at the Public Lighting Section.

Chapwanya then contacted police, but they arrived when the suspects had already left.

Police investigations led to Gweshe’s arrest on Saturday and he implicated Matsiye, Kugowa, Mabiza, Rinemhota and Muzingira.

The court heard that they had all admitted to stealing copper cables and vandalising transformers from 2019 to the date of their arrest. Searches of their homes found copper cables at Mabiza’s house.

Mabiza is said to have admitted to stealing cables while in the company of Kugowa, Bicolus and Chipfunde.

The suspects are said to have led police to an old Zesa station at Warren Park where they allegedly admitted to stealing Zesa property.

Further investigations led to the arrest of Nyarai Rukato, who according to the State, was once convicted for dealing in copper without a license.

Rukato separately appeared before the same court for contravening the Electricity Act. She is also expected to return to court today for her bail application. Herald

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