By James Muonwa I Mashonaland West Correspondent
AN audacious Kariba man has been sentenced to an effective 10 years’ imprisonment for vandalising pylons and related electricity supply infrastructure.
Marshal Maruza (26) of Batonga suburb in Kariba and his accomplice Fanuel Chirai (28) of Nyamhunga 2, Kariba, appeared before Karoi regional magistrate, Solomon Jenya, charged with contravening Section 60 A(3)(b) of the Electricity Act, pertaining to “cut, damage or destroy or interfere with any apparatus for generating, transmitting, distributing or supplying electricity”.
Following full trial, Maruza was found guilty and slapped with 10 years imprisonment while Chirai was acquitted.
Complainant in the case was the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company( ZETDC), represented by Joseph Musekiwa Munemo, who is the company’s lines foreman.
District Public Prosecutor, Reginald Chavora, told the court that on unknown dates, but during the period extending from January to February 12, 2022, the duo connived and removed several angle iron bars, 76 bolts and nuts washers from ZETDC power lines 01 and 02 on pylon or tower numbers 30, 31 and 32, and went away unnoticed.
The court heard the power lines are part of the national power grid made up of pylons or towers with galvanised angle Iron bars of different sizes fastened together by bolts and nuts.
The national grid transmits electricity from Kariba Hydro Power Station to Alaska Power Station, where it would be distributed to the rest of the country, as well as Botswana and South Africa.
On February 13 2022 at around 2pm, police detectives and members from ZETDC Loss Control who were on an operation received information to the effect that ZETDC stolen galvanised angle iron bars, were discovered in Kariba industrial sites used to weld a kapenta fishing rig.
A follow up was made, leading to Stand Number 1098, Chawara industrial area, where the boat belonging to Chirai was being built using stolen ZETDC galvanised angle iron bars.
Two complete galvanised angle iron bars and four angle iron bars off cuts were found lying underneath the rig, while several iron bars were already welded onto the boat.
All the galvanized angle iron bars were positively identified by Munemo, through the inscribed numbers on them.
Chirai admitted to have been supplied the angle iron bars by Maruza.
The court heard that Chirai then assisted the police to arrest Maruza, who then led police to further recover 42 complete galvanised angle iron bars at another site.
The total value of the stolen property was US$2 472 and only a total of US$1 562 was recovered.
Maruza was represented by Felix Antonio of Antonio and Associates while Chirai was represented by Unite Saizi of Saizi Law Chambers.