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Chingwizi donations stolen

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TWO government employees arrested last Saturday on charges of stealing food handouts donated by well-wishers to flood victims at Chingwizi camp in Masvingo briefly appeared at the Chiredzi Magistrates’ Court yesterday facing theft charges.

PATRICK CHITONGO
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The food was meant to be distributed among the estimated 3 000 families displaced by the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam and housed at the transit camp since the beginning of this year.

The suspects – Mutombeni Solan and Pasi Shiri both police officers deployed to provide security at the camp – are expected back in court on June 30 for trial.

Their lawyer Charles Vhudzi confirmed the development yesterday.

“Yes, I can confirm that my clients were picked up by the police at Chingwizi. Police indicated that they are laying theft charges on them,” he said.

Solani and Shiri were arrested at Chingwizi Transit Camp on Saturday and detained at Bongo Police Base located at the ransit camp before they were transferred to Triangle Police Station.

According to police, Mutombeni was allegedly found in possession of 4×2 litres, 12x375ml, 12x750ml of cooking oil and 7x2kg sugar in his tent which he could not account for.

This was after some police officers and other government officials at the camp had suspected him of stealing refugees’ food rations.

Taddeas Chisveto, a Local Government employee deployed at the camp allegedly noticed that some packets of sugar were opened when he reported for duty on Thursday last week and immediately advised two police officers at the camp, leading to Mutombeni’s arrest.

Mutombeni then implicated Shiri as having brought the food into the tent.

The arrest of the two came at a time when flood victims at Chingwizi were complaining that food hand outs were running out, with each family receiving 10kg of mealie meal, 500g of kapenta and 750ml of cooking oil per month regardless of the family size.

The flood victims have also accused government employees and politicians of looting the donations.

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