Three up for theft of copper cables

15 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Three up for theft of copper cables Isaac Muguti appeared before Harare Magistrate Mr Dennis Muguti on Friday and was remanded in custody to today for his bail application.

The Herald

Crime Reporter

THREE men suspected to be part of a gang that has been digging up and stealing telephone copper cables in Zvishavane and Murewa, have been arrested in separate swoops as police continue to crackdown against theft and vandalism of the electric and communications infrastructure.

In Zvishavane, CID detectives arrested Samson Sibanda (42) and Wishes Marwise (41) following the theft of telephone copper cables in Zvishavane.

CID spokesperson Detective Assistant Inspector Rachel Muteweri said the two were allegedly those who stole 83m of telephone cable along Zvishavane-Buchwa road on Wednesday last week and then hid their loot in the nearby bush.

Detectives received information that the two were behind the crime and swiftly reacted to the information leading to their arrest and the subsequent recovery of the copper cables.

Police in Murewa arrested Norman Mhosva after he allegedly joined five others, who are still at large, and dug out 400m of underground telephone cables loading it into their getaway car and disappeared.

As they drove along the Murewa-Harare road, their vehicle developed a mechanical fault resulting in them offloading the stolen cables and hiding them in the bush.

But someone saw them.

“Luck ran out for the accused persons after a vigilant member of the public alerted the police, who quickly reacted to the information,” said Det Asst Insp Muteweri. “Investigations led to the arrest of Mhosva, the owner of the getaway vehicle.”

Det Asst Insp Muteweri said police “strongly warn” the public against vandalising or interfering with public utilities and infrastructure such as communication facilities, Zesa equipment as well as National Railways of Zimbabwe equipment.

“Such acts impact negatively on the country’s development. A mandatory ten-year jail term is obligatory for vandalism of public infrastructure,” she said.

There is no fine and no lower sentence unless special circumstances are found.

In July, ZESA Holdings said it had been losing over US$9 million a year owing to vandalism and theft of its infrastructure.

While the actual vandals and thieves have been subject to the 10-year terms, others in their gangs have got away with fines and shorter terms.

The Electricity Act, in its present form, provides for a fine not exceeding level 14 or imprisonment not exceeding five years for transportation of material used in connection with generation, transmission, distribution or supply of electricity.

Clause Two of the new Electricity Amendment Bill will replace this provision with imprisonment of not less than 10 years upon conviction, the same as the thieves get.

There were other related offences that attracted imprisonment of not less than one year that will be replaced with 10-year imprisonment.

Clause Three of the Bill still allows the court to impose a fine of up to Level 14 or lower imprisonment, but not exceeding 10 years, should there be special circumstances peculiar to the case, which circumstances must be recorded by the court.

Last month, ZESA announced that it had adopted drone technology to curb illegal practices.

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