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Gold theft case raises stink

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A MASVINGO man was last week acquitted of theft of gold worth $1 200 in a matter which has raised a stink in the manner the prosecution dealt with the case amid suspicions of corruption.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Shingirai Mvududu, a manager at Slashwood Mining (Pvt) Ltd in Masvingo, was acquitted and discharged by Masvingo magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso of three counts of theft of gold river sand from his employer where he allegedly stole 24,72 grammes of fine gold.

However, what raised eyebrows was the way the prosecution dealt with the matter as it deliberately refused to call key witnesses, including the security guard who discovered the theft, to testify.

Mudzongachiso acquitted Mvududu saying the defence proffered by Mvududu on a CR14 form purported that he had acted with the authority of one of the company’s directors Tapiwa Zabron Gurupira.

When it was brought to the attention of the prosecution that the CR14 which Mvududu tendered as his defence was fraudulent as Gurupira had resigned in 2012 as a director of the company, prosecutor Joshua Mundondo did not put the evidence to test or call the management to testify and clarify the matter.

Even a police report yielded nothing as they were allegedly reluctant to act on the fraud resulting in the alleged fraudulent document being accepted as evidence in court.

Southern Eye has it on good authority that Mundondo told his boss Elson Chavarika about the issue and the need to call the security guard only identified as Musarurwa, to come and testify, but he was reportedly ordered to go ahead with the case in its defective manner allegedly to secure Mvududu’s acquittal.

Chavarika was at pains to explain why the matter was handled with such dereliction when he was confronted about the case by Slashwood Mining (Pvt) Ltd management on Thursday.

“I have no idea what really transpired in court or what evidence was led. I have to read the record first and see what was the basis of the magistrate’s ruling in acquitting the accused,” Chavarika said.

“I will check whether the ruling could have been an error by the court and we can appeal against the ruling.

“If it’s the problem of the State then it would be difficult because the State can’t make an appeal against its own mistakes.”

But it was somehow evident that Chavarika was aware of the case’s shortcomings before it even went to court as he allegedly deliberately ignored reports of defects in the case by the police and the company’s counsel leading, to Mvududu’s acquittal.

Mvududu allegedly stole the gold last year and was never arrested, but summoned to appear in court without being detained by the police as is the usual practice.

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