School director jailed two years for kidnapping

Court Correspondent 

THE director of George Emmanuel International School, Leonard Chiwaya, who kidnapped a contractor and forced him to perform free labour at his home for four days, was yesterday sentenced to two effective years in jail.

The school is in Nyabira, about 40km north-west of Harare.

Chiwaya (56) was convicted of assault and kidnapping after a full trial by Harare magistrate Mrs Caroline Matanga.

A three-year term was imposed for the kidnapping, but one year was suspended on condition of future good behaviour on his eventual release.

For the assault charge, he was given a wholly suspended four months’ jail term, on condition he does not commit a similar offence over the next five years. Chiwaya kidnapped Tinotenda Sephani who had come to the school to install lights. Prosecutor Ms Takudzwa Chitenderu proved to the court that Chiwaya kidnapped Mr Sephani after he falsely accused him of stealing three laptops and some pairs of school shoes.

Chiwaya, in the company of Taziva, another accused who is still at large, escorted Mr Sephani from George Emmanuel International School to Good Hope, Harare, where one of the accused stays. Upon arrival, Mr Sephani was locked inside a small room and spent the whole night there.

On March 7 last year, Chiwaya’s wife ordered Mr Sephani to clean the yard for the whole day as punishment for stealing the laptops and school shoes. Chiwaya then ordered Mr Sephani to be locked in the same room as a way of restricting his movement and ordered him to perform the cleaning duties until March 8. 

The following day, Mr Sephani was ferried from Goodhope to Bluff Hill in Marlborough, Harare, where he performed duties at the home of Chiwaya’s wife’s younger sister up to around 4pm.

This is when Chiwaya’s wife confronted Mr Sephani over the stolen goods and he denied stealing anything.

Chiwaya then slapped him on the face.

Mr Sephani managed to escape while at Chiwaya’s sister-in-law’s home and fled to Westgate where he later filed a police report.

In handing down her sentence, Magistrate Matanga noted that Chiwaya, who was involved in the theft at the school, tried to use the kidnapping and put the blame for the crime on Mr Sephani.

She also noted that Chiwaya assaulted him with an electric cable and injured him.

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