Public Service Carpenter Convicted For Stealing Work Mate’s Tool
7 October 2020
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A wood plane

A MAN employed as a carpenter by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has been sentenced to six months in jail after he broke into a library at the Hwange Magistrates’ Courts and stole a plane.

A hand plane is used for smoothing or shaping wood.

Tendayi Chikwaka (55) of Empumalanga suburb in Hwange was working at the Hwange Magistrates’ Courts where the Public Works Department was doing renovation work when he stole the tool belonging to a workmate, Mr Allan Chikubwe.

Chikubwe (22) is employed in the same ministry as a general hand and resides at Public Works quarters in Hwange.

He had left the plane at the court’s library when he knocked off on February 14.

Chikwaka pleaded not guilty to theft when he appeared before Hwange magistrate Ms Rangarirai Gakanje but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.

The magistrate slapped him with six months in jail before suspending two months on condition of good behaviour.

The remaining four months were also suspended on condition that he restitutes the complainant of $3 600 being the value of the tool at that time.

The State led by Mr John Mutyakaviri led evidence from Mr Jack Munkuli who testified that he saw the stolen tool in Chikwaka’s car.

Chikwaka, however, claimed that what Mr Munkuli saw was a pint of milk, an argument which was dismissed as unreasonable by the court.

Mr Munkuli was working at the Magistrates’ Courts and was offered a lift home by Chikwaka when he saw the tool in his car.

“On the 14th day of February 2020 and 5pm the complainant and other workmates knocked off duty at Hwange Magistrates’ Courts where they had been doing some renovations to the court building. The complainant left his size 4 Stanley smoothing plane on the library shelves within the court building.

“The following day the complainant did not report for duty and the accused took advantage of his absence and proceeded to the library where he stole the plane and went away,” said the prosecutor.

Mr Chikubwe noticed that his tool was missing when he returned to work the following day and reported the matter to the police.

Chikwaka was arrested after investigations. The tool which was valued at $3 600 was not recovered.