A 29-YEAR-OLD Midlands State University (MSU) student who appeared at the Zvishavane Magistrates’ Court facing theft charges has been acquitted together with her co-accused due to lack of evidence and confusion in circumstances surrounding the case.
Joana Chavarika of 30008/10 Entumbane, Bulawayo, and Bernard Ruvetsva (45) of 18 Westeria, Weston Lee, Mashava, were last week acquitted by Zvishavane magistrate Peter Madiba.
Chavarika, a fourth-year student at MSU and Ruvetsva, a payroll officer at Newbase Construction, were accused of stealing $2 850 meant for two workers from the company’s safe last December.
Madiba released the two, saying evidence presented by the State showed many possibilities, including that someone other than Chavarika and Ruvetsva could have taken the missing money.
It was the State’s case that on December 20 2014 around 2pm Chavarika was assisting an accounts clerk, Patience Dziba, to pay terminated employees and creditors their salaries at Newbase Construction.
Ruvetsva approached the accounts personnel advising them of the cash that he wanted to submit for safekeeping in the company safe meant for two workers who had not come to claim their cash that day and Chavarika responded to him.
It is alleged that Chavarika requested Ruvetsva submit the cash in an envelope.
Chavarika then collected the safe’s keys from Dziba and proceeded to open it for Ruvetsva to place the envelope with the cash, before she closed the safe and handed back the keys to Dziba.
The State alleged that Dziba later checked her books and cash which she had at the close of the day.
She placed her money in the cash box and placed it in the cabinet which she locked and kept the keys.
On December 23 around 10am, a worker went to claim his money.
Dziba and her subordinate, Loyce Musindo, opened the safe cabinet to make the payment and discovered that the envelope and cash were missing and made a report to the security guard on duty, Patrick Sedeya.
Sedeya made a police report, leading to the two’s arrest.