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Trial of soldier up for stealing Mugabe’s computers deferred

By Tarisai Machakaire

The State has lined up over 10 witnesses to testify in a case in which former president Robert Mugabe was duped of $50 000 worth of property by a soldier.

File picture of soldiers in Zimbabwe

Pepukai Zvakavapano, who is attached to the Presidential Guard, was due to answer to theft charges before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande yesterday before prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri deferred the matter.

Mukumbiri advised the court that there was a series of documents to be furnished to Zvakavapano’s lawyer and considered the requisite 72 hours an accused person is given to familiarise with any documents that would be used by the State during trial.

“Your worship, we seek that the matter be postponed to May 6 on the basis that the State has seven documents that should be furnished to the defence which include five witness statements, an inventory and another which confirms donation of those computers to the complainant (Mugabe),” Mukumbiri said.

During his initial court hearing, Zvakavapano denied the theft charges and claimed Mugabe had given him the laptops and computer accessories as a token of appreciation for good service rendered during his tenure as president.

He dared the nonagenarian to come and testify in court substantiating this version of events.

According to State papers the complainant is Mugabe represented by Nyamurima, 52, a provincial intelligence officer in the President’s Department.

Mukumbiri alleged that sometime in March, Zimbabwe House was to undergo renovations. In the State residence was Mugabe’s household goods including a printer, computers and accessories.

The court heard that Nyamurima was instructed to transfer the goods from Zimbabwe House to Polloground where five shipping containers had been put to secure the goods.

The goods were transferred and secured in the containers.

On April 3, Zvakavapano and his accomplice Marega were deployed at the five containers location to do perimeter guard duties.

During the night, Zvakavapano and Marega allegedly broke three padlocks on three of the containers and allegedly stole computer accessories, laptops, desk top computer sets and printers valued at $49 982.

It was alleged that property was moved over a precast wall.

The court heard the duo were disturbed by other soldiers on patrol and dumped four boxed laptops, a printer and an empty box of a Xerox printer and disappeared into the night.

Zvakavapano and Marega allegedly returned to take the property from their hide-out point and reportedly shared the spoils.

The court heard that Zvakavapano sold the stolen items at giveaway prices in town.

On April 10, detectives came across one of the stolen laptops in shop 11 at Nhaka Parade in Harare.

It was established that it had been sold at $199 to Elton Chasekela from Voster Chigede of Chitungwiza.

It was alleged that Chigede led detectives to Tawanda Edson Musekiwa, who then assisted in the arrest of Zvakavapano after revealing that he was the one who sold the laptops.

Zvakavapano was arrested.

His arrest led to the recovery of some of the laptops, computers and accessories at his residence, the court heard.

More goods were recovered at Harare Main Post Office being sold by Takawira Gutsu.

The total value of the goods stolen was $49 982. Only $13 215 was recovered. DailyNews