“Thieving” prison officers in the dock for fleecing jailbirds

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By Mary Taruvinga

FOUR Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers have  been dragged to court charged with stealing inmates’ rations worth more than US$7 000.

Rukudzo Konje, Rodha Mawadze, Avellino Muchawa and Margaret Chikwature who were all stationed at Harare Central Prison at the time they “brazenly” committed the offence, in full view of inmates.

The court heard the quartet went on to stage manage a break in to cover up for their offence.

It is the State’s case that, the four allegedly stole 1447.8kgs of sugar, 166.87kgs salt, 217.58kgs chicken and 3023.3kgs beans before they were exposed through an internal audit.

The suspects were at one point removed from remand after the State failed to furnish them with a trial date.

Now the State says it’s ready to proceed to trial. Appearing for the State Delight Mauto said the trial will commence on June 18.

Allegations are that on a date unknown to the State but between August 1 and December 2018 the four prison officers hatched a plan to steal prisoners’ rations from the storeroom.

“On several occasions, Konje, Mawadze, Muchawa and Chikwature stole various prisoners’ rations in full view of inmates and shared them amongst themselves,” the court heard.

It is the State’s case that the officer in charge at the prison, Never Kambizi got a tip off to the effect that prison officers were stealing rations from both the kitchen and rations office. Kambizi immediately instituted investigations.

“During investigations, the accused stage managed an unlawful entry into the rations office in aggravating circumstances in a bid to cover their tracks,” alleges the State.

On December 13, Kambizi reported the unlawful entry case at Harare Central Police Station under CR1444/12/18 and requested an internal audit on the kitchen books and rations office.

The auditors discovered that rations worth US$7 524.15 were missing and nothing was recovered.