By Mejury Magaya
A Shurugwi farmer, who stole 25 head of cattle from two colleagues and claimed that he had been assisted by some police officers to commit the crime, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Brighton Mahara of Chanhuwa Village under Chief Nhema in Shurugwi appeared before Gweru Magistrate, Mr Edwin Marecha, facing stock theft charges.
He was convicted on his own plea of guilty before he was handed a 25-year prison sentence.
Mr Marecha, however, suspended five years of the sentence on condition of good behaviour.
Mahara will therefore serve an effective 20 years in prison.
In passing the sentence, Mr Marecha said stock theft was a very serious crime which called for long custodial sentence to deter would be offenders.
In mitigation, Mahara said he wanted the court to forgive him as he was the only one being convicted of a crime he committed with unnamed police officers.
Prosecuting, Mr Bernard Nyoni told the court that the offence occurred on February 7 this year at around 11PM at Gwelo West Block along Gwenhoro Road in Gweru.
“Mahara went to Steven Chambanga’s farm where he asked him for his bull. Mahara later drove 25 herd of cattle from the complainant’s paddock,” said Mr Nyoni.
He said the matter came to light when Chambanga’s neighbour who was looking for her two heifers met Mahara, in the company of an unknown person, in Chambanga’s paddock driving the cattle.
The court heard that the neighbour asked Mahara why he was driving the beasts which did not belong to him. “Chambanga’s neighbour subsequently took charge of the 25 head of cattle including her two heifers and drove them to Chambanga’s farm house. The matter was reported to the police and investigations were made leading to the arrest of Mahara,” he said. The Chronicle