Makarau testifies in car theft scam

HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau yesterday testified in a car theft scam involving an ex-cop, who allegedly placed the judge’s damaged vehicle’s number plates on a stolen car.

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

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 during a police shoot out.

Zvaita allegedly placed Makarau’s damaged vehicle’s number plates on Zishiri’s stolen vehicle.

In his defence, Zvaita, through his lawyer, Benjamin Chidenga, told the court that he was sent by (Mrs) Magwenju to handle the process. The woman is on the run.

However, Makarau, speaking through a Shona interpreter, Sherlyn Soko, yesterday distanced herself from Zvaita’s actions.

She told Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya that she had not assigned anyone to apply for a new registration book or duplicate plates.

Makarau said the car was taken to a garage in Graniteside, after it was involved in an accident and was declared a write-off.

Another witness Brian Mageta, a police officer who testified on Tuesday told the court 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.

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.

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

During an interview by police details, Makarau denied ever sending Zvaita to apply for a duplicate registration book.

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