A ZANU PF activist caught with a gun at a Bulawayo church function attended by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko says he had used the gun to transport cash to Rusape.
BY SILAS NKALA
Sweet Sweet, who is also a Nyamandlovu farmer, was arrested on April 4 at the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Sengwayo church’s 60th anniversary celebrations in Pelandaba after he was seen advancing towards Mphoko with a pistol protruding in his jacket.
One of Mphoko’s bodyguards, Vumani Ncube, noticed the gun and interrogated Sweet.
Mphoko was a guest at the celebrations. Sweet denied the charge of possessing a firearm at a public place when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa yesterday.
Sweet’s lawyers from Majoko and Majoko law firm submitted that he was denying all charges against him.
“Accused will plead not guilty to the charge or its alternative and will state that on April 4 he was at the premises of the AFM church at number 39 Pelandaba in Bulawayo,” the lawyers submitted.
“The church was celebrating its 60th anniversary and in attendance were members of the church and invitees.
“Accused had a pistol as described. The accused had a valid licence in respect of the pistol.”
They said Sweet had gone to Rusape with $2 000 cash and took the gun with him for security.
“The accused ordinarily resides at a farm in Nyamandlovu and has a gun cabinet where he keeps the pistol,” the lawyers said.
“The accused, on his way from Rusape, went to the church celebration and had a pistol on his person being contrary to conditions for the issue of the pistol for him to leave it on unsecure place.
“The pistol was seen by a member of the VP’s security details who asked accused what he had on his person. The accused volunteered that he had with him a pistol.”
Sweet reportedly produced the licence when police demanded it before his arrest.
“The accused denies that he was in possession of the pistol at a public place, the church precinct (is) not a public place,” the lawyer said.
“Alternatively, the accused will plead that the firearm licence he holds does not place a restriction prohibiting him from having the firearm even at a public gathering.”
Muchemwa remanded the matter to April 24 and Sweet is out of custody on $100 bail. Prosecutors say Sweet was found with a BRNOC2 pistol, 14 rounds of ammunition, $2 and R5.
Following his arrest, investigations revealed that the gun was legally registered for protection of cash in transit with serial number 68244 and certificate number 830701.