Mat – North senior Zanu PF official locked up for theft

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A senior Zanu PF official in Matabeleland North was yesterday locked up for stealing and selling three community diesel-powered engines worth $6 000 in Jotsholo.

John Robert Khumalo (57) who resides at the Ministry of Transport camp in Lupane and is a provincial Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, was not asked to plead to theft charges when he appeared before Lupane magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba.

The magistrate remanded him in custody to September 13 for plea recording. The State had opposed his bail application.

The refusal was based on State-led evidence by Lupane Police officer-in-charge Law and Order Detective Inspector Isaac Chakawoma that indicated there were some leads on the other two missing engines which police had obtained. Khumalo’s release would prejudice investigations he argued.

The court heard that in 2008 Khumalo was a ward councillor in Manganga and Kwarayi area where a non-governmental organisation, Noradi, donated three water pumps to the community for a cattle-rearing pilot project.

It is the State case that due to vandalism of public property in the area, the engines were removed from the project and kept by a villager at his home.

Khumalo allegedly went to the villager and asked for the engines saying he wanted to take them for repairs. He is alleged to have gone on to sell them to three different people.

The State alleged he sold one of the engines to one Buster Willy Magwizi which had since been recovered by the police.

Sanders Sibanda is prosecuting the case.