Makarau sucked into vehicle theft scam

HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau has been sucked into a motor vehicle theft case involving an ex-police officer, after her damaged vehicle’s number plates were placed on a stolen car.

Charges against Gilbert Zvaita, 41, arose after he was arrested for unlawful entry and theft of a motor vehicle.

Brian Mageta, a police officer, yesterday told Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya that investigations revealed that Zvaita applied for a duplicate registration book for a stolen vehicle on the pretext that he had been sent by Makarau.

Mageta, however, said after his arrest, Zvaita failed to give a satisfactory answer as to how he was sent by Makarau.

It is alleged that Zvaita connived with Golden Magwenju and Joseph Makanuka to steal a vehicle from Tichaona Zishiri in Mutare.

Magwenju and Makanuka are now late after being killed in a police shoot out.

The court heard the trio broke into Zishiri’s house in February this year and stole several household goods, before loading the items and driving off in his Isuzu KB truck.

According to court papers, the gang was spotted by police officers in Masvingo while driving the stolen vehicle, bearing registration numbers ABX 8913.

Mageta yesterday told the court  detectives made checks with the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and discovered that the registration numbers fixed on the stolen vehicle belonged to Makarau.

Investigations, according to Mageta, revealed that Zvaita had approached CVR officials and lied that he been sent by Makarau, before being issued with a duplicate registration book, the court heard.

Zvaita yesterday denied the allegations.

Through his lawyer Benjamin Chidenga, Zvaita said he was sent by one “Mrs Magwenju” to handle the process. That woman is alleged to be on the run.

According to court papers, when Makarau was interviewed about the issue, she denied ever sending Zvaita to apply for a duplicate registration book.

She further told the court that her car was involved in a very serious accident and was declared a write-off.

It was taken to a garage in Graniteside, where it is still kept waiting to be disposed of.

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