By Luthando Mapepa
A 33-year-old Chipinge man was last week slapped with a 17-year jail term for robbing a Mozambican national of R250 000 and property worth R3 000.
John Hofisi, who resides in Mutikwanda Village under Chief Mutema, appeared before Chipinge magistrate Mr Poterai Gwezhira on Friday last week facing theft charges. He pleaded not guilty, but was jailed after the court found overwhelming evidence against him.
Prosecutor Mr Witness Nyamundaya told the court that on August 1 last year, Hofisi and three accomplices, who are still at large hatched a plan to steal from Betty Makunyire (30) of Chambula Village in Espungabeira, Mozambique.
They went to the complainant’s house, where, upon arrival, they entered the kitchen.
At the time, Makunyire was reportedly preparing to have supper. One of the accused, Daniel Chikara, who is still at large, allegedly introduced himself as a police commander from Manica Province, Mozambique, and accused Makunyire of illegally possessing fire arms.
The State alleges that the gang then went into complainant’s bedroom, where they demanded cash from the complainant and other property. It is believed that they also demanded R10 million, which they believed was sent by Makunyire’s husband who works in a mine in South Africa.
“The accused left the complainant and her mother-in-law in the bedroom to search other rooms, but only after locking the complainant in her bedroom,” said Mr Nyamundaya.
He also noted that upon entering the other rooms, Hofisi and his colleagues took R250 000 stashed in a cardboard box and took some property worth R3 000 before disappearing from the scene.
The complainant resultantly made a police report in Espungabeira, which led to joint investigations between Zimbabwe and Mozambican police.
On November 27, after police received information that Hofisi’s wife was in possession of some stolen property, they proceeded to Werd Farm, where Hofisi’s wife was, and recovered some of the stolen property. On December 4, the complainant was summoned to CID Chipinge offices, where she was shown some of the recovered property and positively identified the goods as hers.
Mr Gwezhira sentenced Hofisi to 17 years imprisonment, of which six were suspended for five years on condition that the accused repays the complainant the sum of R250 000 and returns the stolen property.