NKAYI provincial magistrate Thabekhulu Dube on Monday appeared in court in Bulawayo on allegations of stealing a beast from a Nkayi villager seven years ago.
Dube, who resides at the Justice Ministry quarters in Nkayi but is currently attending a local university, was not asked to plead to a charge of stocktheft when he appeared before Bulawayo senior regional magistrate Owen Tagu.
He was remanded out of custody on free bail to April 16 for trial.
Dube’s trial was supposed to start on Monday, but he applied for a postponement.
Blessings Kundhlande, prosecutor in charge of regional courts, said the prosecutor in the case, Admire Chikwayi, had indicated Dube would be writing examinations this week hence the postponement.
Chikwayi told the court that sometime in July 2005, the complainant, whose name was not given in court or in court papers, lost his ox from the grazing area in Nkayi.
He made a report to the police and the matter was investigated under reference crime register 115/07/05. However, when the investigations were still underway, on March 28, at Badala Business Centre in Inyathi, the man saw Dube’s truck parked at the centre carrying some cattle to Bulawayo.
The complainant identified his ox in the vehicle. He approached Dube and told him that one of the beasts belonged to him.
The complainant suggested to Dube that they go to Inyathi Police Station to verify his claims.
But Dube allegedly refused and ordered his truck driver to drive to Bulawayo where the cattle were sold. The cattle, including the complainant’s ox, were sold to Colcom and the skin of the ox was sold to a tannery firm in Bulawayo.
If convicted, Dube faces a mandatory minimum sentence of nine years in prison.