ZIMBABWE Miners Federation boss Trynos Nkomo (47) who had claimed to be in a mining partnership with Vice-President Joice Mujuru, yesterday escaped a prison sentence when he was acquitted on charges of criminal insult (impairing the dignity of the VP).
He was fined $200 or two months in jail for deliberately supplying false information to a public authority.
Gwanda magistrate Sheila Nazombe also sentenced Nkomo to 30 days in prison, which was wholly suspended for five years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the same period.
Nazombe said the State led by Blessing Gundani had failed to prove that it was Nkomo’s intention to impair the dignity of Mujuru, but had uttered the words to gain an advantage over detectives who were investigating him for externalising gold.
Allegations by the State were that on May 27 this year, detectives from Gwanda Minerals Unit went to Nkomo’s Bunny Luck Mine after receiving information that he was externalising gold.
They approached Nkomo and asked him to produce mining certificates and the company’s registration documents, but he failed. Instead, Nkomo told the detectives that the certificates were kept by Mujuru, claiming to be in partnership with her in a company called Matshamahle Mining (Pvt) Ltd.
Further investigations proved that Nkomo had lied as Mujuru denied knowing him in an affidavit that was produced in court.
In his defence through his lawyers Thompson Mabhikwa of Mabhikwa, Hikwa, Nyathi and partners, and Patrick Tererai of Tererai Legal Practitioners, Nkomo denied ever saying his mining documents were with Mujuru, but said he told detectives the certificates were with lawyers.
Nazombe said it was undisputable that Nkomo had uttered the words to gain advantage over the detectives and lashed out at him for sending the police on a “wild goose chase”.
“You showed no respect for the law,” she said. “Police had to channel their resources and time on the false information you gave them.”
In passing sentence, Nazombe took note of Nkomo’s ill health as medical records showed he is diabetic and asthmatic.