A SENIOR warden at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison allegedly gave his civilian clothes to an inmate to facilitate the latter’s escape from prison.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
This was revealed at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday when the prisoner, Tawanda Chikonyora (35), pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody.
It emerged that Chikonyora committed the offence after he was only left with 39 days to complete his three-year effective jail term for theft.
During mitigation, Chikonyora pleaded with the court for leniency, saying he had no intentions to escape, but was forced by prison officials who were receiving money from other inmates on his mobile phone which was confiscated by senior prison officers during investigations.
Chikonyora said he managed to get access to his phone and it would be used by other prisoners and prison officers to carry out transactions using Ecocash in order to get favours.
The convict added that he was given civilian clothes and bus fare by a senior prison officer, only identified as Gandawa, and managed to sneak out undetected on January 24 this year.
Prosecutor Patience Chimusoro urged the court to impose a stiff sentence, saying Chikonyora’s moral blameworthiness was high.
“The accused breached the trust that was bestowed on him by the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services. An option of a fine or community service will trivialise this offence and only a custodial sentence will serve the interests of justice,” Chimusoro said.
Allegations against the convict are that on January 24 this year at around 6am, he was assigned to his normal duties at the prison farm and was supposed to report back at 6pm, but he did not.
Chikonyora is expected in court today for sentencing by magistrate Victoria Mashamba.