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    Friday, 23 August 2019

    25 years jail for $4m tar thief


    NATASHA RAMBANAPASI

    CHIVHU – Chivhu Magistrate Henry Sande has sent a strong message to those abusing road construction resources and the corrupt at ZIMRA by jailing a thief who stole and sold 55 drums of bitumen meant for the expansion of Harare – Beitbridge Highway to 25 years in jail.
    Some 115 drums of tar were stolen at a Ministry of Transport deport in Chivhu and a follow-up report by The Herald indicated that the total value was $4 million then.
    Artwell Mahakwa of Bulawayo was convicted by Magistrate Sande on Tuesday this week despite pleading innocent to the charges laid against him. The accused denied the charges and told the court that he only went to Chivhu to get his money from Armstrong Mpotegwa.
    Delivering his ruling, Magistrate Sande said Mahakwa is a selfish individual who put himself ahead of the nation’s needs by stealing bitumen meant to fix the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway which is one of the main highway roads in the country.
    It was the State case that part of the stolen consignment was bought by Lazarus Demo who used it to construct a state of the art tennis court for tourists in Msuna in Hwange. Demo told the court that he bought 55 drums of the bitumen from Armstrong Mpotegwa and Mahakwa.
    “I was called by an agent and he told me that there was good tar that was being sold. Mahakwa picked me up at TM Hyper in his Isuzu TB 250 and we headed for the warehouse where the tar was kept and I was satisfied with the commodity.
    “I was told that the bitumen was being sold on a cash basis so I bought 55 drums and paid RTGS$260 for each. I paid part of the money via ecocash and the remainder I paid cash,” said Demo.
    Mahakwa was arrested in Bulawayo and his suspected accomplice Mpotegwa is on the run.
    A total of 115 x 200litre drums of bitumen disappeared from Chivhu.
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