Mahomed Mussa worker steals US$195 000, gets arrested while paying lobola at tezvara’s homestead

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Man sentenced to two years in jail for using stolen money to pay lobola

In a case that has raised eyebrows, Chamunorwa Muvhuti (40) has been handed a two-year jail term for paying lobola (bride price) with a portion of the stolen funds from his employer, Mahomed Mussa Wholesalers. Muvhuti, who worked as a merchandiser at the company, was found guilty of theft by Harare magistrate Mrs Apollonia Marutya.

Having pleaded guilty, Muvhuti argued in mitigation that his employer was not paying enough. However, the court convicted him, leading to the subsequent sentencing.

Initially, Mrs Marutya imposed a 36-month prison term, but she suspended six months on the condition that Muvhuti refrains from committing similar offenses within the next five years. Additionally, another six months were suspended, provided that Muvhuti pays restitution of US$5,000 to Mahomed Mussa before February 28 of the following year.

Mrs Marutya took several factors into account when delivering the sentence. She acknowledged that Muvhuti was a first-time offender who did not waste the court’s time and resources. Furthermore, she recognized his responsibilities as a family man with underage children to care for. Although most of the stolen money was recovered, Mrs Marutya emphasized the breach of trust between Muvhuti and his employer.

The incident occurred on December 21, when Muvhuti, in collaboration with security guards Jeremiah Kwenda and Phineas Moyo, hid inside the shop after closing time. Using a sharp metal object, Muvhuti detached a black portable safe from the wall and disappeared with it. The following day, the company discovered the safe’s absence and promptly reported it to the police. Detectives apprehended Muvhuti on Christmas Day in Mupande Village, Chief Chitsungo in Pfungwe, where he had gone to pay lobola to his in-laws.

During the investigation, Muvhuti led the police to the recovery of US$186,100 hidden at his residence in Chitungwiza. In addition, he guided them to the retrieval of the black portable safe, which the complainant positively identified as the one stolen along with the US$195,000.

This case has attracted significant attention due to the audacity of Muvhuti’s actions and his attempt to use stolen funds for traditional marriage customs. The judgment serves as a reminder of the consequences individuals face when breaching the trust bestowed upon them by their employers.

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