Medical Doctor Arrested for Allegedly Stealing 254 Cows
4 July 2023
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By A Correspondent | In a shocking turn of events, a retired medical doctor from Chiredzi, Tungamirai Rukatya, has been arrested on charges of stealing 254 cattle with an estimated value of US$101,600. Dr. Rukatya appeared before Magistrate Brian Munyaradzi this week to face the accusations, which allegedly took place between 2013 and 2021. The case, registered as CR179/02/23, has been adjourned to July 5, 2023, for further trial proceedings.

According to court documents, the retired doctor was entrusted with the management of a farm owned by Tony Sarpo. As part of an agreement, Gary Warth paid 24 cattle annually to graze in the fields on the farm. However, Dr. Rukatya is accused of taking control of 96 cattle paid by Warth and an additional 158 cattle that belonged to Sarpo himself.

Solomon Mateta, the loss control officer from Hothfield Enterprises, provided testimony in court. Mateta revealed that Tony Sarpo held full ownership of Oscro Farm and Hothfield Enterprises, and he was also a 50% shareholder in Towfin Investment, a farm owned by Dr. Rukatya. Sarpo had a total of 158 cattle across these properties.

The agreement between Tony Sarpo and Gary Warth dates back to 2009 when it was mutually decided that Warth’s cattle would graze in Hothfield and Oscro farms. In exchange, Warth would annually pay 24 cattle as grazing fees. The initial payment of 24 heifers was made in 2010.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Theresa Warth had sent an email to Tony Sarpo, confirming that the cattle payments were made between June 2009 and June 2010. However, when Sarpo demanded his cattle back, Dr. Rukatya allegedly informed him that nothing remained. Subsequently, after police intervention, Gary Warth confirmed that he had given Dr. Rukatya a total of 96 cattle, resulting in the alleged theft of 254 cattle in total.

In addition to the cattle theft charges, Dr. Rukatya is also facing separate allegations of stealing a 15,000-litre tank valued at US$8,000. It is alleged that he sold the tank to ICP in Chiredzi. This case has been registered as CRB 619/23.

As the trial continues, authorities are investigating the full extent of Dr. Rukatya’s involvement in these alleged crimes. The retired doctor, who currently operates a butchery, will have to await the next trial date to defend himself against the charges he faces.