The Herald, December 1, 1979
TWO night watchmen at Kingsway Post Office, George Chakanyaka (38) and Eric Makurume (33), were sent to jail for stealing the contents of parcels posted in Salisbury and suburbs for mailing to all parts of the world when they appeared at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
They were charged with 36 counts of theft committed between December 1, 1977 and July 26, 1978.
They pleaded guilty to 23 of the 36 counts and not guilty to the remaining 11. They also denied an additional charge of receiving stolen property.
The magistrate, Mr Tom Smith, was told that the two men had found a way of getting into the parcels office when they were on duty.
They would then remove the parcels, unwrap them, put the wrappings in the dustbin and take the contents to their homes.
On July 26, 1978, when Police raided their homes, they recovered a considerable amount of property that was later identified by the senders.
Of the 11 counts which they denied, Mr Smith found them guilty of two and discharged them on the remaining nine.
He told them that the theft of mail was a serious matter and undermined the confidence of the public in the integrity of the Post Office.
He sentenced them to two months’ imprisonment on each of the 25 counts and suspended 18 of the 50 months for five years.
On the 37th count of receiving stolen property, he found Makurume guilty and sentenced him to four weeks’ imprisonment, which he ordered should run concurrently with the rest of the sentence.
The effective sentence was two and a half years’ jail for each of them. Mr Honour Mkushi, of the Sawyer and Mkushi, appeared for the two men, Mr Brett Hone prosecuted.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- Honesty is a virtue that should be exhibited by everyone, especially those that are entrusted to look after valuable things such as letters and parcels.
- Things done under the cover of darkness will eventually come to light. The men thought that they would not be caught since they were stealing things at night when everyone else is at home, but the net eventually closed in on them.
- Benefits from crime are usually temporary. The two watchmen in the story were making extra money from stealing, but their enterprise was short lived because they were caught and jailed.