KWEKWE businessman Kenias Sibanda has dragged his former groundsman to court accusing him of stealing over $1 million from his home between January and June last year.
Sibanda, who leads a business consortium known as Kwekwe Properties which runs several fuel stations and commercial buildings including Shamwari Hotel, alleges that his former gardener Thembinkosi Mandiya (37) stole $474 000 and R5 638 000 from a strongroom at his Chicago house using duplicate keys.
Appearing before provincial magistrate Letwin Rwodzi on Monday, Mandiya denied the theft charge and challenged the State to produce evidence that Sibanda left the money in his custody.
Through his lawyer Caroline Mugabe, Mandiya also denied being given duplicate keys to Sibanda’s strongroom.
The State, led by Vimbai Chinoda, alleged that Mandiya was given duplicate keys to the strongroom and left in charge of the money when Sibanda left the country.
It is the State’s case that Sibanda left his gardener with instructions to give the money to his business partners but the latter allegedly vanished with the money.
But Mandiya demanded to know why a businessman with over 50 employees including accountants would leave such a large sum of money in the hands of a groundsman and not even his wife or younger brother whom he left at home before embarking on his business trip.
“My client states that he was employed just as a gardener and was not your accountant or record keeper and that his duties were to take care of the gardens and yard only,” Mugabe argued.
However, Sibanda told the court that he did not trust his wife with his money, that is why he entrusted the money to Mandiya.
He further told the court that he did not bank the money because he was going out of the country and, therefore, it would have been difficult for him to fulfill the transactions from outside the country.
Mandiya, who is also related to Sibanda, told the court that he did not vanish with the money as alleged claiming that he resigned from work due to ill health.
He said he told Sibanda’s wife of his condition and she allowed him to retire to his rural home in Zvishavane where he is currently staying.
The trial continues tomorrow.