|Forex-dealer to give birth in prison|
|Thursday, 16 August 2012 00:00|
A pregnant foreign currency dealer will give birth in prison after the court jailed her for an effective seven years for robbery. Letwin Maliselo (31), who operates at Road Port teamed up with armed robbers and attacked his colleagues before they got away with US$11 000 and R50 000 in May this year.
She was jointly charged with Marchael Hovhiyo Nyakwima (26) who was slapped with an effective 16-year prison term on both counts of robbery.
Maliselo, who masterminded the robbery of her colleagues was convicted on one count.
Their accomplices who are believed to be South Africans are still at large.
Harare magistrate Ms Esthere Chivasa sentenced Maliselo to 10 years behind bars before suspending two years on condition she restitutes US$2 040 to Richard Musa on or before August 31.
One year was suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Nyakwima was sentenced to 20 years in prison and four years were set aside on condition he restitutes the complainants of R12 000 and US$2 540 on or before August 31.
In mitigation Maliselo, through her lawyer, Mr Ringisai Mapondera, implored the court to be lenient with her arguing that she was pregnant and that she did not solely benefit from the crime.
Before passing sentence Ms Chivasa noted that Maliselo’s moral blameworthiness was very high because “she is the one who pin-pointed the complainants to her accomplices”.
“Armed robberies are very prevalent in this jurisdiction, a fine or community service will trivialise the offence.
“The fact that she is pregnant will not deter me from imposing a custodial sentence due to the gravity of the crime that she committed. You will therefore have to give birth in prison.”
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza had called for a stiffer penalty arguing that Nyakwima recruited his accomplices from South Africa.
Mr Reza left the court in stitches when he queried about Maliselo’s pregnancy after her lawyer had said she was two months pregnant.
“The accused cannot possibly be two months pregnant because she has been in custody since May 14 which is three months, how can she therefore be two months pregnant unless she was being intimate in prison,” he said.
Mr Mapondera in response said he meant to say that Maliselo was two months pregnant when she was arrested.
On May 2 this year, around 8pm Maliselo informed her accomplices that Richard Muza had US$10 000 cash.
Acting in connivance, the gang used an unregistered BMW sedan and trailed Muza from town to Kuwadzana where he lives.
They introduced themselves as police officers and advised Muza that he was under arrest for illegally dealing in drugs and that they were taking him to Southerton Police Station.
They robbed him of his cash along the way.
On May 10 around 9pm, Maliselo again informed her accomplices that Tariro Rukure of Cold Comfort had lots of cash.
Using the same method, the gang stole R50 000, US$1 000 and two mobile phones valued at US$200 from him.
They shared the loot among themselves.