Soldier, taxi driver in soup for stealing Cyclone Idai relief

BY Richard Muponde

A CHIPINGE soldier and a taxi driver allegedly stole Cyclone Idai relief aid and escaped from a police roadblock after being cornered, but were involved in a road traffic accident soon after.

This was revealed when the soldier, Bigbrain Sithole (23) of 3.3 Infantry Battalion in Chipinge and taxi driver, Philosopher Ratiso (32) of 46 Ngangu Township in Chipinge appeared before Chipinge magistrate, Joshua Nembaware.

They were both remanded out of custody on $500 bail each accompanied by stringent conditions.

This was after their lawyers, Langton Mhungu and Tatiro Tazvitya of Mhungu and Associates and Bere Brothers Legal practitioners respectively, applied for bail on their behalf.

Prosecutor, Shamiso Ncube told the court that on April 23, Sithole was on duty guarding Cyclone Idai aid relief at Silverstream base in Chimanimani.

He allegedly connived with Ratiso and one Maitai, who is still at large, to steal some of the aid.

Ratiso, a taxi driver, then came with Maitai to the base where Sithole was on duty during the night and loaded blankets, clothes, mattresses, shoes and clothes into the taxi.

The trio left the base headed for Chipinge.

However, when they arrived at Jopa turn-off along Birchenough Bridge Bridge–Mount Selinda Road they were stopped by Sergeant Major Givemore Nyamayaro together with Constables Damburai and Kunaka who were manning a police roadblock.

When they stopped, Maitai jumped out of the vehicle and disappeared into darkness.

Ratiso and Sithole waited for the vehicle to be searched and on being questioned about their consignment, they allegedly drove off at high speed from the roadblock.

However, they were involved in an accident near Birchenough Bridge leading to Ratiso’s arrest, who implicated Sithole.

He was later arrested by the military police while on duty at Silverstream base and handed over to the police.

All the stolen property was recovered.

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