Taxi driver jailed 7 years

HARARE - A taxi driver has been sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found guilty of  attempted murder and aiding a criminal to escape from police.

Regional magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni had initially sentenced Norman Panganai, 30, to 10 years in prison but she suspended three years on condition of good behaviour.

Facts are that on November 28 last year, Muchaitei Rungwa, a police officer at Malbereign Police Station went to pick up Zvidzai Tapambwa to escort him to Marondera to face charges of theft.

In the process of handing over Tapambwa’s property, the cellphone rang.

While in the process of answering his phone, Tapambwa rushed into a Toyota Demio that was parked outside, which would serve as his getaway car.

When Tapambwa entered, Panganai immediately started his car and drove off while Rungwa gave chase.

By the time Rungwa got to the car it was already in motion and he only managed to hang on to the driver’s door.

With the vehicle in motion, Panganai assaulted the police officer on the face with his fist despite verbal warnings to stop the car, trying to shake him off.

While Rungwa was hanging onto the door, Panganai swerved his car so that he would fall but the taxi driver lost control and rammed into a tree.

Investigations by the police later revealed that Panganai had removed the rear licence plates from his car to avoid detection by the police.

In passing sentence, regional magistrate Mthombeni said Panganai showed disrespect for the police and instead of showing care for a fellow human being who was hanging precariously on the vehicle, he attempted to end his life. - Helen Kadirire

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