A CHIVI man, who used fake stock permits to rob villagers of their livestock in Zvishavane and Mberengwa, was “fortunate” to be slapped with a nine-year jail sentence.
Rhinos Takawira (36) of Matara village, Chivi, was arrested in September last year after he stole and sold cows across Zvishavane and Chivi.
His luck ran out when he forged stock permits and stole three beasts belonging to one Boniface Vakai of Tanaka Village under Chief Masunda.
Zvishavane magistrate Peter Madiba initially sentenced Takawira to a 14-year jail sentence before suspending five years for five years on condition that he did not commit a similar offence and that he paid back Vakai’s beast that was not recovered.
During trial, Takawira presented altered stock permits and clearance forms before accusing the State of tampering with his documents, after prosecutor Stanley Ncube discovered that a veterinary permit (0951060P) had black ink on top of blue, with an important section having been torn off.
Madiba advised the public against buying cattle from strangers, particularly in cases were documents were not properly written.
The State alleges that on August 18 last year, Vakai released his cattle on a free range system in the morning.
Later, Vakai failed to locate two heifers, a calf and an ox that were grazing together with Stephen Gwarega’s oxen that also disappeared.
On the same day, Takawira had bought a veterinary permit number 0951060P in Zvishavane, where he lied to the veterinary officer that he intended to drive three beasts from Zvishavane to Mberengwa, before he went on to steal Vakai and Gwarega’s cattle from the pastures.
Takawira, who is alleged to have applied the same trick in other cases which are still under investigation, used the same permit to drive stolen beasts to his homestead in Matara village.
He then exchanged two stolen heifers for two oxen with Isaac Gwenere of Torima village under Chief Gweremhere and his headman Tasaranago Matara witnessed the deal before clearing the transaction.
A police clearance was obtained and Takawira went on to sell Vakai’s ox together with the other two oxen he obtained from the exchange deal with Gwenhere to Koala Meats in Masvingo on veterinary permit 42966P issued by Chivi veterinary office on August 22 2013.
During a police search, Vakai’s two heifers were positively identified and recovered from Gwenere’s cattle kraal and they were given back to the owner.
Investigations revealed that Takawira had made several other cattle transactions using the same method and sold the stolen cattle to Koala Meats.
Receipts of those transactions were obtained as evidence.