Chipo Sabeta Chinhoyi Bureau
Four executive members of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation in Chinhoyi have been jailed 36 months for converting $26 888 cooperative funds to their personal use.
Wellington Muparaganda (58), Esnathi Gube (40), Emilia Kandororo (50) and Ntombizodzwa Mavhenge (50) through their lawyer, Joshua Mungeyi, pleaded guilty to theft of trust property charges when they appeared before provincial magistrate Mr Felix Mawadze.
All the four were sentenced to 36 months before 12 months were suspended for five years on condition they did not committee a similar offence. A further 12 months were suspended on condition they paid back the $26 888 by November 30 this year.
The remaining 12 months were commuted to 420 hours of community service at Chikonohono Clinic in Chinhoyi. In handing down the sentence, Mr Mawadze castigated the theft of trust property and the resultant prejudice to the cooperative members.
He said theft of trust property was on the increase at a time when people were struggling to make ends meet. Mr Mawadze noted Mr Mungeyi’s mitigatory concerns that the four accused persons had not wasted the court’s time by pleading guilty and were willing to pay restitution to the complainants.
Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation was formed in March 2015 with an aim of fundraising money to buy residential stands. The prosecutor, Mr Clive Guvamombe told the court that the money was raised through monthly subscriptions from members of the organisation. The cooperative opened a bank account and gave the money to the treasurer for banking purposes.
A constitution was put in place to secure the funds and it clearly stipulated that the money was not to be withdrawn until Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation got residential stands.
The four accused persons were elected by the members to be signatories to their CABS account number 1004562381 where the money would be deposited. A total of $35 199 was raised by June 2017
The theft came to light in June this year when the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing availed 41 stands to the cooperative and the four were asked to go and purchase 33 stands.
The finance committee could not account for the money after an audit. The quartet admitted that they had withdrawn the money and converted it to their personal use and nothing was recovered.
A bank statement indicating the withdrawals was presented to the court as exhibit and it revealed that the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation had suffered a total prejudice of $26 888.