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Top lawyer in court for stocktheft

by court reporter
25 Jul 2012 at 05:17hrs | Views
PROMINENT Kwekwe lawyer and former Gweru magistrate Tapera Sengweni has been arrested for allegedly stealing five cattle belonging to two villagers in Zhombe and Silobela communal lands.

Sengweni (35), of Number 5 Link Drive Msasa Park, Kwekwe, was yesterday arraigned before Gweru provincial magistrate Mr Sithembinkosi Msipa facing two counts of stocktheft.

He is jointly charged with Josphart Marape (28) and the pair pleaded not guilty. Sengweni was remanded to 31 July on $500 bail while Marape was remanded in custody to the same date

Sengweni's worker, Isaac Garirira (19), who initially was facing the same charges, was placed off remand and would now be used as a State witness.

Sengweni, who was brought to the Gweru Magistrates Courts in handcuffs while being escorted by two uniformed police officers, was quickly whisked away in a police Isuzu truck amid revelations that he was facing other stocktheft charges committed in Nkayi District.

Gweru lawyers Mr Reginald Chidawanyika of Chitere Chidawanyika and Partners and Mr Hillary Garikai of Garikai and Company Legal Practitioners represented Sengweni while Marape did not have a lawyer.

For the State, Mr Justos Makwena told the court that on Tuesday last week, one Mr Robert Fundire Dube of Village Selukwe under Chief Ntabeni, Zhombe, woke up and found two of his oxen missing in the cattle pen.

Mr Makweni said the complainant then saw some tyre marks and foot prints at his cattle pen, which he tracked up to the tarred road along the Gokwe-Kwekwe Road.

The court heard that Mr Dube then made a police report at Zhombe where he was told that police had already received a tip-off that a blue Toyota truck belonging to Sengweni had been used to steal his beasts.

Mr Makwena said the complainant then went to one of the accused, Marape's homestead and asked about his missing beasts.

Mr Makwena said Marape then indicated to the complainant that his beasts were at Sengweni's plot.

He said when the complainant got to Sengweni's plot, he found his two beasts among Sengweni's herd and went to make a report at Redcliff Police Station.

Mr Makwena said two police officers then accompanied Mr Dube to the plot where he then identified his two stolen beasts among Sengweni's herd, which was being herded by Garirira.

The court heard that the police impounded Sengweni's herd and drove it to Carswell Meats Abattoirs for safe keeping.

It is the State's case that while Sengweni's herd was still being kept at Carswell Abattoirs, police invited another complainant, Mr Nelson Runesu Moyo of Village Masabe, Chief Malisa, Silobela, who also lost his three beasts to come and identify his cattle among Sengweni's herd.

Mr Makwena said Mr Moyo then positively identified his three oxen, which had gone missing on 17 June this year while in the grazing areas.

This led to the arrest of Sengweni and his accomplice.

Meanwhile, there was drama as two police officers denied Sengweni freedom soon after he was granted bail at the Gweru Magistrate Courts by quickly handcuffing him for yet another alleged stocktheft case in Nkayi.

The police then detained Sengweni within the Gweru courts premises for close to 30 minutes as they waited for a police vehicle.

Before the police truck arrived, Sengweni's relatives quickly brought him lunch, which he, however, ate, in handcuffs.

Soon after that, Sengweni was taken onto the back of an Isuzu police truck, which had parked outside the court premises, after which it drove off along the Gweru-Kwekwe Road.

One of Sengweni's lawyers, Mr Garikai confirmed that his client was arrested soon after the court proceedings at the Gweru Magistrates Courts in connection with a stocktheft case in Nkayi.

Source - TC