By Patrick Chitumba
Two Zvishavane men have each been sentenced to 30 years in prison after they were convicted of stealing 2 000 metres of copper cables belonging to TelOne.
The pair of Lawrence Moyo (20) and Precious Simon Sibanda (27) both from Zvishavane appeared before Gweru Regional Magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa facing 12 counts of wilful damage to or interference with or theft of telecommunications and apparatus.
Moyo and Sibanda pleaded not guilty to the charges but were convicted after a full trial.
In passing sentence, Mrs Msipa said the duo deserved a long custodial sentence because they were sabotaging the economy through vandalism of the telecommunication lines.
“The crime was preplanned and they were caught in the act after an alarm went off and TelOne and the police reacted swiftly. The cables they cut were used for communication and they deserve a long custodial sentence to deter would be offenders. Both are sentenced to 30 years each in prison,” she said.
It was the state’s case as presented by prosecutor Mr Kevin Guveya that on January 27 at around 23.31PM Mr Chiunye Kamonyo was startled by an alarm that was set off at his place of work (Telone Zvishavane).
Mr Kamonyo discovered that there had been a tampering with TelOne telecommunications cables at Birthday residential area in Zvishavane.
Mr Kamonyo then made a report at Zvishavane police station.
A team of police officers accompanied Mr Kamonyo to the area identified by the alarm as a place of tampering.
At the scene, the court heard that the police officers and Mr Kamonyo located the destroyed scene and quantum of damage that had been perpetrated. Moyo and Sibanda on seeing the police and Mr Kamonyo fled from the scene but didn’t go very far and were apprehended.
A bag found at the scene was searched and the police recovered a hacksaw and a hacksaw blade and Aerial Drop telecommunications cable belonging to Telone Zimbabwe that had been cut along Birthday residential area in Zvishavane.
Further investigations by the police led to the recovery of more copper cables which had been destroyed and or removed from different areas leading to the arrest of Moyo and Sibanda. The Chronicle.