MDC MP Acquitted Of Defrauding Burial Society

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

MDC Makokoba MP, James Sithole was Thursday acquitted of defrauding a burial society US$4 250.

Sithole, 45, and three colleagues, Jacob Manyange, 64, Raymond Gombeza, 47, and Manyara Muzamani, 49, were facing two counts of defrauding the burial society each.

Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja acquitted Sithole, Gombeza and Muzamani on all the two accounts.

However, the magistrate placed Manyange on his defence on the two counts.  

In acquitting the trio, Magistrate Munjanja ruled that the State had failed to prove a prime facie case against the accused.

“The State witnesses did not give convincing evidence. In fact, the State case was like flogging a dead horse,” ruled the magistrate.   

Appearing for the State, Leonard Chile told the court that on an unknown date to him but between the year 2010 and 2011, the accused persons acted in common purpose and sent Manyange to collect R10 000, which was being kept by Margaret Sibindi who was the treasurer of the burial society.

The accused persons allegedly converted the money to their own use.

On another count, the State alleged that in 2011, Sibindi, who was responsible for safekeeping the burial society’s money, converted US$4 250 to her own use leading to her arrest.

Before trial, the treasurer paid US$2 810 through Rudo Sithole to Manyange and was left with a balance of US$1 440.

“Sibindi was taken to court under where she was convicted and ordered to restitute US$1 440 through Tredgold Magistrate Clerk of Court. She fully complied with the order,” Chile told the court.

The prosecutor said that Manyange signed and collected US$1 440 which was restituted by Sibindi from the Clerk of Court.

“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,” the prosecutor further told the court.

The accused were represented by Bhutshe Dube.