Zanu PF Mwenezi district chairperson, Rennias Muchoko (42) was last week arrested and arraigned before magistrate Honest Musiiwa on charges of stealing bags of maize and millet from Rutenga Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot.
Muchoko, of Stand Number 521, Rutenga growth point, was found guilty is also the party’s provincial secretary for transport and welfare.
He entered the ruling party’s Mwenezi West parliamentary primary elections but later withdraw to support his relative Tafadzwa Shumba who went on to lose to current MP Priscilla Zindari Moyo.
Muchoko was found guilty of theft after he pleaded not guilty but admitted that he took the grains as he believed it was normal to do so.
He was sentenced to 10 months in prison, four of which were suspended on condition that he restituted GMB by March 22. The remaining six months were suspended on condition that he perfomed 210 hours of community service at ZRP Rutenga begining March 15.
In his defence, Muchoko had said it was the norm that whenever the ruling party had a gathering, grains are taken from GMB and on this incident, he had expected President Emmerson Mnangagwa to address a rally in Mwenezi West.
GMB officials who testified in court, however, nailed Muchoko arguing that the Zanu PF leader had acted with impunity and ignored all procedures to forcefully take the grain without doing any necessary paperwork.
The State claimed that that on August 12, 2017 at around 08:45hrs, Muchoko went to Rutenga GMB depot and found a security guard, Warinda Kaurai at the premises. The accused demanded some bags of maize purporting that they were going to be used at a gathering.
Kaurai advised Muchoko to first inform the deport manager Masiyambiri but the accused was defiant and he unlawfully took 10 x 50 kgs bags of maize and 2 x 50 bags of millet and went away.
The security guard immediately advised the depot manager who then ordered him to file a police report leading to Muchoko’s arrest. All in all, the value of the stolen grain amounted to $220 and nothing was recovered.
Caroline Pasipanodya is representing the State.