Gold panner jailed five years


A COLLEN BAWN man has been sentenced to five years in jail for being in possession of gold without a licence or permit.


Sikholiwe Ncube was convicted on his own plea of guilt by Gwanda magistrate Sheila Nazombe yesterday and sentenced to the mandatory five-year imprisonment term.

Prosecutor Alexander Moyo said on December 19, detectives from the minerals unit were on patrol at Spitzkop North in Gwanda conducting a stop-and-search operation.

The detectives stopped Ncube and searched him, but initially found nothing. However, one of the detectives requested Ncube to hand over his Nokia X2 cellphone which he was holding in his hands.

He opened the battery compartment of the cell phone and found some gold concentrate wrapped in a plastic paper.

The gold dust weighing 9,315g was tested and found to contain 4,35g of pure gold valued at $139.

Ncube failed to produce a licence or permit authorising him to possess gold, leading to his arrest.

In mitigation Ncube said he had picked the gold and wanted to sell it to raise money to buy medication for his sick child.

Nazombe said there were no special circumstances that led Ncube to commit the offence hence the imposition of the mandatory five-year jail term.