Thieving Gushungo employee jailed

gavelTendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A Gushungo Holdings employee was sentenced to four years in jail for siphoning more than $50 000 from his employer on the pretext that he was paying suppliers.

Gushungo Holdings owns Alpha Omega Dairy in Mazowe.

Stephen Fino (36), who was employed as a personal assistant to the general manager, swindled the company of $52 327 and nothing was recovered.

He was convicted of fraud after pleading guilty before magistrate Ms Bianca Makwande.

Ms Makwande sentenced him to four years behind bars before setting aside 10 months on condition of good behaviour.

Ms Makwande further suspended 15 months on condition he restitutes the complainant on or before April 25.

Fino will spend an effective two years behind bars.

In mitigation Fino pleaded for the court’s leniency saying that he was willing to meet his employer and make a payment plan.

He said he committed the offence out of need not greed.

“Please forgive me Your Worship, I have also pleaded for mercy from my employers and I am willing to restitute them. To show my remorse, I gave them my vehicle which is worth $5 000 as part of restitution.

“My salary was too low, I was earning $500, which was not enough since I am a family man. I decided to steal from them so that I would be able to send my children to school and cater for their medical bills,” he said.

From the stolen money, the magistrate subtracted $5 000 for the vehicle he gave away.

This means Fino will restitute $47 327 to Gushungo Holdings. Prosecuting, Ms Venencia Mtake urged the court to send Fino to jail arguing that a fine or community service would trivialise the offence.

Sometime last year, the company engaged the services of Ernst & Young auditors to inspect its records. The audit revealed that during the period extending from 2013 to August 2015, Fino raised fraudulent vouchers purporting that certain companies had rendered services to Gushungo Holdings when in actual fact no services had been provided.

Fino misrepresented to the company that Toyota Zimbabwe, Toyota Mike Harris, First Pack, AFC Accessories and Surrey were the companies that had provided services. He then converted the money to his personal use.

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