A former site manager at a company owned by prominent businessman Philip Chiyangwa walked out of a Harare magistrate court a free man after he was acquitted on charges of stealing building scaffolds worth $500 000.
Cuthbert Chibwe, a former Pinnacle Holdings employee, was all smiles as he walked out of Court 18 while his relatives and friends joined him as they celebrated the acquittal in court corridors.
Chibwe was charged with theft of the building materials, which allegedly occurred in 2009.
But regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire on Thursday ruled Chibwe could not have been behind the theft.
“The prosecution in its fairly enlightening submission conceded that no prima facie case had been established against the accused person at the end of the State’s case.
“Clearly there is no evidence to sustain a charge of fraud against this accused person on this record,” Nemadire said.
“Not a single essential element of the offence of fraud has been proved by the State’s evidence so far.
“This accused cannot be put to his defence, accordingly he is found not guilty and acquitted.”
Allegations were that sometime in 2007, Pinnacle Holdings hired scaffolding equipment from various companies since the company was involved in massive building projects.
One of the major projects was the construction of Pentagon Hotel situated at the corner of Crowhill and Carrick Creagh in Borrowdale, Harare, where Chibwe was the head foreman.
It was alleged between June and December 2009, Chibwe, who was in charge of all construction issues and management of hired equipment, diverted most of the equipment to his private projects, a charge he denied.