From Luthando Mapepa and Ray Bande in CHIPINGE
A deputy director in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development on Saturday appeared before a Chipinge magistrate facing charges of stealing Cyclone Idai donations worth $3 000.
The accused, Christine Chideme (63), of Southerton, Harare, appeared before resident magistrate Mr Farai Gwitima, who denied her bail and remanded the matter to tomorrow for trial.
She pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting, Mr Themba Dhliwayo told the court that on April 3 at around 7pm, Chideme, who was driving a Toyota Landcruiser (WAG-CD23), was stopped by Terrence Majonga, a soldier, while she was coming from Silver Stream Cyclone Idai command centre, between Chipinge and Chimanimani.
She was searched and her vehicle was found with an assortment of goods donated to the victims of the cyclone.
Last Thursday police officer Constable Edward Dhumukwa (32) stationed at the Silver Stream command centre was arrested and appeared in court for alleged looting of donations valued at tens of thousands of United States dollars earmarked for cyclone victims in Chipinge.
Dhumukwa allegedly hired a kombi to ferry his loot from for about five kilometres to a roadside where he loaded it into a Harare-bound bus.
Investigators allegedly recovered two red and black large bags with 20x400g washing paste, 10x400g spaghetti, 5kg kapenta, 4x2kg washing powder, 20x500g sugar beans, 20x2kg white sugar, 1x3kg washing powder, 4x2kg washing powder, 4x2kg 2 in 1 Sunlight washing powder, 6x6x400g packs of candles, 10x500g Mega Rice, 6x2kg Mariana Rice, 1x2kg Excella Rice, 2x2kg Red Seal Rice, 1x2kg Probrand Rice, 1x2kg Ideal Rice, 2x12x375ml Dovi (Mama), 4x1kg Iodised Red Seal salt, 1x1kg Probrand salt, 1x1kg Mega iodised salt, 1x1kg Royal salt, 10 double blade shaving machine, Smooth Air clinic set, 2x12x2l Zimgold cooking oil, 10x2kg Probrand Rice, 12 Meiban tissues, 1 khaki short, 4 white drying towels, 52 assorted pairs of ladies’ shoes and eight blankets.
S7 Jackets, 26 pairs assorted female shoes, 16x200g tablets FA bathing soap, 3 x tins dark brown shoe polish, 2 jerseys, 12 T-shirts (mixed), 1 pair of shorts, 2 ladies’ jackets, 1 checked blouse, 1 grey striped tie, 1 black cap, 1x250ml Vaseline Blue Seal, 5x100ml Vaseline bottles, 1 shoe brush, 1x50ml Colgate, 1x375ml Dovi.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga last week said officials implicated in abuse of Cyclone Idai donations must face lengthy jail terms.
Cde Chiwenga said this while addressing a crowd gathered at Chipinge District Hospital last Wednesday where he was assessing the progress in Government relief intervention in Chimanimani and Chipinge.
He said those implicated in abuse of donations must not be granted bail during court processes.
“I want to warn civil servants, workers in different organisations and all those involved in distribution of goods donated to victims of Cyclone Idai that if implicated, they will go to jail straight without any consideration for bail whatsoever.
“We are not joking about this. Surely, you cannot deprive that old man I just saw in the male ward who lost his entire family during the cyclone simply because you want to fatten your pocket,” said Cde Chiwenga.