By Mary Taruvinga
SOCIALITE William Mutumanje, popularly known as Acie Lumumba, walked out of court a free man Wednesday after a Harare court ruled that he did not steal $8,000 from a colleague as alleged.
Magistrate Francis Mapfumo concluded that the State failed to prove its case against Mutumanje, adding that there was no reason to prosecute the political activist considering that even the complainant had exonerated him.
The claimed victim in the case, a Graham Tineyi of One Commando Barracks in Craneborne, told the court that he was not the one who reported the alleged robbery to the police.
Tineyi said he had wanted to withdraw the case but failed to do so due to a recent order from the prosecutor general’s office barring that possibility.
He added that Lumumba was a long-time friend of Lumumba and that the case was “nothing more than a classic matter of misunderstanding”.
Tineyi also told court that when he was given his money back, the process was transparent and straight-forward, making him realise that Lumumba had not stolen the cash in the first place.
Lumumba was acquitted after applying for discharge at the close of State’s submissions on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Idah Maromo had alleged that the robbery occurred on February 27 when the activist met Tineyi at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Court heard that while at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority point, Tineyi was told that the limit of American dollars one could carry when going abroad was $2,000.
He then asked friend Lumumba whether he knew anyone at the airport that he could leave some of his money with.
It was alleged that Mutumanje then Tineyi to one Abigail Chipuru of Traverse Travel Airport Office before they both flew to South Africa.
However, on February 28, Mutumanje sent a WhatsApp message to one Jethro Tonderai Maposa advising to collect the $8,000 from Chipuru.
According to prosecutors, Mutumanje did so without the knowledge and consent of Tineyi.
Maposa reportedly collected the money and, as instructed by Mutumanje, sold the United States dollars on the black market.
Court heard that Maposa got $10,000 in bond notes and deposited the cash into the bank account of Mutumanje’s wife, Lillian Rufaro Madyira.
A police report was filed against Mutumanje, leading to his arrest