Ex-Mat North CIO boss escapes gun conviction

A FORMER Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Matabeleland North boss Benjamin Chinyai has escaped conviction for failing to secure his service rifle after it was stolen in a break-in at his former residence of Baobab in Hwange six years ago.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Chinyai, who was the province’s intelligence officer before being transferred to the Midlands, was found not guilty and acquitted by Hwange magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa on a charge of contravening Section (28) (2) of the Firearms Act (failing to secure a fiream).

In his defence through lawyers Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners, Chinyai said he had no case to answer because he lost the firearm through a break-in and theft.

“The accused will state that the firearm was in a locked built-in wardrobe and hence was in a safe place,” he said.

“The firearm in question was not in a gun cabinet, but was kept in a reasonably secure place in terms of the Firearm Regulations of 1998. The firearm was in a safe place secured against the risk of deliberate falling into the possession of unauthorised persons.

“The accused person took reasonable and necessary measures to secure the firearm under the circumstances. Wherefore the accused prays that he be found not guilty and acquitted.”

Prosecutor Toindepi Mbiza told the court that on November 3 2008, Chinyai left his house in Hwange for Bulawayo leaving his service rifle AK 47 serial number 055530 and two magazines of 25 rounds each in a built-in wardrobe in his bedroom.

There was a break-in at his house on that particular day.

His cottage tenant Gift Nyoni informed Chinyai about the break-in and the latter asked him to check for his riffle.

Nyoni told him it had been stolen and Chinyai made a report to the police, but he was charged for failing to secure the firearm.

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