By Bulawayo Correspondent
MDC MP for Makokoba, James Sithole (45) and three others Wednesday appeared before a Bulawayo magistrate facing two counts of defrauding Makokoba Burial Society of US$4250.
Sithole, also a member of the burial society, appeared before Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja together with Jacob Manyange (64), Raymond Gombeza (47) and Manyara Muzamani (49).
Bob Phiri Muzondo, a Makokoba resident, is representing the burial society.
Appearing for the State, Leonard Chile told the court that between 2010 and 2011, Sithole and his co-accused “acted in common purpose” and sent Manyange to collect R10 000 which was being kept by Margaret Sibindi who was the treasurer of the group at the time .
The four allegedly converted the money to their own use.
On another count, the State alleges in 2011, Sibindi, who was responsible for safekeeping the Burial Society’s money, converted US$4 250 to her own use. She was arrested under CR 152/03/19.
Before trial, the treasurer paid US$2 810 through one Rudo Sithole to Manyange and left with a balance of US$1440.
“Sibindi was taken to court under CRB 975 /11 where she was convicted and ordered to restitute US$1440 through Tredgegold Magistrate Clerk of Court. She fully complied with,” Chile told the court.
The prosecutor told the court Manyange, cited as accused one, signed and collected US$144 which was restituted by Sibindi from the Clerk of Court.
Said the prosecutor, “The four accused persons acted in common purpose and converted the money paid through Rudo Sithole and the money restituted at the court to their own use.
“The total value of the stolen money amounted to US$4250 and nothing was recovered.”
However, the legislator and his co-accused’s lawyer Prince Bhutshe Dube said Sibindi, who is one of the state witnesses, is trying to “fix” his clients after they reported her to the police instead for stealing the Burial Society’s money.