A WOMAN stole US$13,000 and buried it in her garden – but the deception was uncovered after a wilting vegetable plant aroused the suspicions of a police officer, a court heard.
Sicelesile Tshuma, 28, of Njube, Bulawayo, had been given the money – proceeds from the sale of a housing stand – to deposit with a bank.
Prosecutors say she reported the money missing at Bulawayo Central Police Station on September 13.
Tinashe Dzipe, prosecuting, said detectives went to Tshuma’s home to conduct a search.
“As two detectives were conducting the search inside the house, a third who had remained outside noticed that one vegetable plant had withered while the rest were green,” Dzipe said.
“The detective became curious and when he dug up the plant, he hit on a metallic object which turned out to be a tin.”
The tin contained $12,900. When quizzed about the find, it is alleged, Tshuma denied any knowledge of it.
Tshuma and one Thabani Sibanda, the court heard, had negotiated the sale of the stand to Dumisani Kodzai for US$15,000 on behalf of Bulawayo businessman Dr Jimmy Gazi.
Gazi had paid Tshuma and Sibanda US$1,000 commission each, with Tshuma being directed to deposit the remainder in a Barclays account.
Bulawayo regional magistrate Godwin Sengweni remanded Tshuma – who is charged with one count of theft – on $100 bail to October 5 for trial.