BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
A CHIREDZI commercial farmer, Tony Renato Sarpo (55), who was last year slapped with a 10- month prison sentence for theft of trust property, has been freed after his sentence was quashed by the High Court last week.
Sarpo was in June last year convicted and sentenced by Chiredzi magistrate Geraldine Mutsoto for stealing 40 wheelbarrows belonging to Matabeleland Engineering.
Four months were, however, suspended on condition that he paid a $300 fine and a further six months were suspended on condition that he paid $8 800 restitution by July 31, 2020.
Sarpo appealed the ruling at the High Court which last week ruled in his favour and set aside the sentence.
“The appeal be and hereby upheld. The conviction of the accused be and is hereby quashed and the sentence set aside. The accused be and is hereby found not guilty,” the High Court ruled.
Sarpo has scored several victories against Matabeleland Engineering.
In one of the cases he was convicted in February last year by Harare magistrate Nyasha Vitorini for stealing a Toyota Hilux single cab truck valued at $10 000 also belonging to Matabeleland Engineering.
David Wayne Williams, one of the co-directors of Matabeleland Engineering trading as Yagden Engineering, told the court that Sarpo refused to return company documents, assets, receipt books, vehicles, vehicle registration books, accounts books and other assets following his resignation on June 2, 2016.
Sarpo, who was executive director and a shareholder in the firm, held on to the vehicle and sold it to Intrachem through Harris Auto, Harare.
Vitorini sentenced him to 12 months in prison, of which six months were conditionally set aside. Six months were suspended on condition that he restituted the complainant and performed 210 hours of community service.
Sarpo, however, appealed both conviction and sentence at the High Court and was acquitted.