This morning, Zimbabwean comedian and social media personality Mai TT (real name Felistas Murata) appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ for sentencing after she was convicted of theft of trust property on Tuesday.
Harare Magistrate Mrs Munashe Chibanda on Tuesday remanded her in custody pending sentencing, today.
This was the culmination of Mai TT’s fraud trial where the popular comedienne borrowed US$10 000 from a loan shark using a hired car as collateral (Mercedes Benz), then a stolen car (Audi Q5) and then an invalid passport.
Mai TT denied the fraud charges arguing that she never gave the complainant, Ms Rachel Mhuka, a Mercedes Benz vehicle as surety for the loan which she undertook to repay by November 30 last year.
Allegations are that the Mercedes Benz Mai TT gave as surety to Mhuka was hired. Mai TT later claimed back the Mercedes Benz saying it did not belong to her and handed over another vehicle, an Audi Q5.
This car she again retrieved and replaced with an invalid passport as surety
When Mhuka realised that the passport was invalid, she confronted Mai TT who immediately returned the second vehicle.
In January this year, police from Rhodesville approached Mhuka and seized the car saying it had been stolen from Else Event Car Hire.
This was after the company reported Mai TT for theft of trust property.
In her judgment on Tuesday, Harare Magistrate Mrs Chibanda described the case as a “classic case of theft of trust property”
On Wednesday morning, according to a Twitter thread by H-Metro, Mai TT arrived at Harare Magistrates’ Court in prison garb and black sneakers. She hid her face from cameras as she alighted from the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services truck.
Mai TT (in black sneakers) arriving at Harare Magistrates' Court this morning pic.twitter.com/vYV7YOiidO
— H-Metro (@HMetro_) June 14, 2023
In the H-Metro Twitter thread, during the mitigation phase of the trial, Mai TT’s lawyer argued that she was a first-time offender and a single mother of two minor children.
“The lawyer also emphasized that there was no permanent deprivation to the complainant as he recovered his vehicle and continued to charge hiring fees while instituting a civil claim against Mai TT, which meant there was no permanent deprivation as the property was recovered in full.
“The lawyer acknowledged that Mai TT still owes the owner of the car and litigation against her has commenced, so they didn’t suffer any loss,” posted H-Metro.
The lawyer further argued that Mai TT’s moral blameworthiness is low and that a custodial sentence would have ripple effects on her children, as she is the breadwinner.
“The lawyer urged the court to consider a non-custodial sentence, such as a fine and community service, as this would meet the justice of the case and send a message to potential offenders that such conduct will never go unpunished,” posted H-Metro.
On the other hand, the prosecutor, Monalisa Magwenzi, argued that Mai TT had wasted the state’s resources, as evidence showed that she took property entrusted to her and gave it to a third party.
“The prosecutor also stated that Mai TT was dishonest in her conduct and deprived the complainant of income by keeping the car for three months. The prosecutor urged the court to consider a custodial sentence as a deterrent to potential offenders,” posted H-Metro.
“The matter was stood down for sentence, and the court is yet to deliver its verdict. While it’s unclear what the outcome of the trial will be, it highlights the importance of trust in contractual relationships and the consequences of breaching that trust.”