Soldier jailed for 3 months, whisked away for court martial

A SOLDIER based in Chipinge was fished out of court by the military police for deserting the force after he was arraigned for stealing a cellphone worth $770 from a Good Samaritan, who had given him the gadget to do a transaction using EcoCash.

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

Edson Muyambo (22) of 4783 Gaza Unit O township in Chipinge, who is based at 33 Reserve Battalion, was convicted on his own plea of guilty to theft and the alternative charge of theft of trust property by Chipinge magistrate, Joshua Nembaware.

He told the court that he made a mistake as he did not intend to deprive the complainant, Bolton Makoni (17) of his cellphone, but wanted to return it to him at a later date.

“I didn’t intend to steal from him at all. I wanted to use the phone to buy beer and when I finished using it, it was already later so I couldn’t locate the complainant,” Muyambo said.

He was sentenced to six months in prison, of which three months were conditionally suspending for five years. The remainder was suspended on condition he reinstitutes the complainant of the $770 before October 31.

During the trial, the military police kept in wait for him in court after which they snatched him when the court finished his case. They took him for court martial for being absent without official leave.

Prosecutor Shamiso Ncube told the court that on August 3, at 4pm, Muyambo was at a drinking spot at Gaza O shopping centre.

He wanted to buy beer, but his money was in his EcoCash account and had no handset.

The soldier then approached Makoni and asked for his cellphone to do the transaction, saying he would later return the cellphone to him. The complaint handed over his Samson J1 Galaxy cellphone to him to do the transactions.
However, after buying his beer, Muyambo disappeared with the phone, leaving Makoni at the drinking spot. He went on to sell the cellphone and converted the money to his own use.

Makoni later bumped into him and demanded his cellphone back, but he promised to return it. Days passed with Muyambo being evasive, leading to Makoni reporting the matter to the police.

Muyambo was later arrested at the same shopping centre, but the cellphone was not recovered.

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