In Zimbabwe, a provincial sports development officer in Matabeleland North must be regretting his decision to break into a charity organization’s office and steal 50kg of nutritional porridge meant for vulnerable children’s feeding after he was jailed 24 months.

Fortunately for the man, will serve an effective 18 months after the court suspended six months for five years on condition of good behavior.

Leonard Mwale (52) was the provincial Sports and Recreation Development officer employed by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in Matabeleland North.

Mwale broke into Christian Youth Volunteers Association Trust (CYVAT) offices housed at the Lupane Local Board where the SRC offices are also located.

Appearing before Lupane resident magistrate Mr. Ndumo Masuku, Mwale pleaded guilty to a count of unlawful entry into premises in aggravating circumstances.
Although Mwale, a widower with four children had shown remorse by pleading guilty and not wasting the court’s time, the magistrate said he committed a serious offense by betraying trust bestowed on him as a public officer.
Before sentencing Mwale, magistrate Masuku said: “This is a serious offence as it entails invasion of other people’s privacy and violation of right to property. Such offences are prevalent during this time of Covid-19 lockdown. As a provincial officer the accused was employed to promote youth development and was expected to lead a high level of trust but on the contrary abused the trust bestowed on him. The court considered that community service will be too light a sentence for a public officer who abused his office against a charity organisation hence a custodial sentence will do.
Mr. Israel Nkomo represented CYVAT as the complainant.
The court heard that Mwale broke into the CYVAT offices during the period extending from July 15 to August 27 and stole packets of e’pap, a highly nutritious porridge recommended for malnourished people, especially children.
The crime was discovered on Thursday last week when Mr. Nkomo noticed that some of the packets of the porridge were missing.
The matter was reported to the police whose investigation led to Mwale’s arrest.
The stolen porridge was valued at US$480 and packets worth only US$12 were recovered.
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