Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
An Econet Wireless employee, who converted over $320 000 worth of airtime to his own use, was yesterday sentenced to six years behind bars. Tendai Trust Mhembere (31) was employed as a sales man and was convicted of theft charges by magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo after a full trial.
Of the six years, Mr Mapfumo suspended one year for five years on condition he does not commit a similar offence within that period.
Two more years were set aside on condition Mhembere reinstitutes $325 512 to Econet on or before October 31 this year.
Mhembere will serve an effective three years in prison, but if he fails to pay back the money to Econet, he will serve five years in jail.
In aggravation, the prosecutor Mr George Manokore called for a custodial sentence.
He said a fine or community service would trivialise the offence, adding that a clear message should be sent to would-be- offenders.
Mhembere was employed by Econet Wireless as a salesman stationed in Norton.
On February 28 last year, Mhembere was entrusted by his employer to sell recharge cards worth $325 512.
Mhembere sold the airtime and converted the money to his own use.
On March 17 a spot check was conducted by a retail accountant Tafirenyika Chimbende who discovered the anomaly.
Chimbende realised that Mhembere had a stock shortfall of $325 512 worth of recharge cards.
When Mhembere was advised of the shortfall, he misrepresented that he had given a cash-in-transit crew the money for banking.
In a bid to cover up the offence, Mhembere posted fictitious entries into the Oracle Internal accounting system of the company purporting that he had banked $325 512 on that day.
Investigations were made at Econet Wireless’ CABS account in Norton and it was discovered that the money had not been banked.
A report was made to the police leading to Mhembere’s arrest.