An official in the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs in charge of exhibits at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts allegedly stole various exhibits which included $990 and fake United States dollars.
There are fears that the fake notes which were in her custody and had been confiscated from fraudsters are back in circulation as it is alleged she failed to account for them.
Perpetual Mahachi (44) appeared before magistrate Ms Ruramai Chitambura on Saturday facing 16 counts of theft. She was released on $50 bail with the consent of the State.
The State alleged that Mahachi was the sole custodian of the strong room keys where the exhibits were kept. It is also alleged that police investigations revealed that there was no forced entry into the room.
Prosecuting, Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that between June 22 and September 5 this year, Mahachi, who was the exhibit officer and was the only person who had the keys to the strong room, allegedly took exhibits namely $990, fake United States dollars, old Zimbabwean notes, R1 270, 258,73 grammes of smelted gold and an 18,271 carat piece of diamond.
The value of the gold and diamond was not mentioned. It is the State’s case that the piece of diamond had been confiscated from Sulo Sangore who was later removed from remand.
The gold, according to the State, was confiscated from Lovemore Mapfumo who is on an outstanding arrest and Samuel Mataranyika who was also removed from remand. The stolen $990 had been confiscated from people who had been arrested mainly for extortion and bribery.
In 2009, five men, including two policemen and a University of Zimbabwe student, were jailed for breaking into the Harare Magistrates’ Court exhibit room with the intention of stealing more than $1,5 million. The money had been confiscated from a Mozambican businessman who was being charged with smuggling.