Maids steal $700 000

HARARE - A Belvedere businessman who kept $700 000 in a kitchen was dealt a body blow when his maids nicked the money and blew it on cars and houses.

Jamil Farogh lost the staggering cash when his three maids discovered wads of cash in a kitchen drawer and stole it, during his visit to relatives in Gweru.

A Harare Magistrate yesterday heard how the trio splashed the cash on properties after sharing the bounty.

Police recovered $130 000 at the time of the arrests. The three, Euna Tsekwete, 32, Rebecca Kawe, 28 and Sheila Nyandoro, 30, appeared before regional magistrate Themba Kuwanda facing theft charges.

They pleaded guilty to stealing the $700 000 from Farogh’s house in Belvedere, although a lawyer hired by Tsekwete claimed his client had made a plea under duress.

The court heard that on April 21 this year, Kawe saw cash amounting to $700 000 in a kitchen drawer.

She approached her fellow maids Tsekwete and Nyandoro and informed them about the money.

The three decided to steal the money which they shared equally.

They used the money to buy residential stands and vehicles which they registered in other people’s names.

Tsekwete bought two residential houses in Shamva, a Mazda 323 and upon her arrest she was found with $8 500.

Her colleagues Kawe and Nyandoro bought houses in Chitungwiza. Kawe also bought a Mitsubishi Canter lorry, while Nyandoro bought a Honda CRV.

They “squandered” the rest of the money, the court was told.

When Farogh discovered that his money was missing, he reported the matter to the police, leading to the trio’s arrest.

Tsekwete’s lawyer Nicholas Chikono arrived at the court after his client had already pleaded guilty to the charges.

Chikono told the court that he arrived late because police had misinformed him that the case will be heard in Chitungwiza.

He claimed the police had also denied him an opportunity to get a briefing from his client.

Magistrate Kuwanda said the police had acted “unprofessionally” by denying Chikono access to his client.

Chikono told the court that he wanted to first get instructions from Tsekwete before proceeding with the case.

He told the court that Tsekwete could have pleaded guilty under duress.

However, magistrate Kuwanda said to avoid confusion, he was not going to alter the guilty pleas entered by the three, until Chikono got instructions from his client.

Magistrate Kuwanda, whose court deals with cases on trial, referred the matter to magistrate Don Ndirowei for a bail application.

Ndirowei will today make a determination on the application. - Tendai Kamhungira

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