A bull suspected to be for traditional rites, which had been stolen together with four other beasts, sold out a Mberengwa cattle thief after it returned to its owner, almost a year after it was stolen.
The bull which belongs to Kokerai Chebani from Chief Mazvihwa’s area in Zvishavane, later led him to Mberengwa where he found his four other cattle which had also gone missing on the same day as the bull.
The cattle had been stolen by Godfrey Tapera (42) of Village One under Chief Mataruse in Mberengwa.
Tapera appeared before Zvishavane magistrate, Mr Story Rushambwa, on Thursday last week facing charges of stocktheft as defined in section 114 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act chapter 9:23.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Tapera will, however, serve an effective 12 years after six years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
For the State, Mr Stanley Ncube, told the court that on 3 November 2013 Chebani drove his five cattle to a grazing area near his homestead and left them there unattended.
When Chebani later returned to where he had left his cattle, he could not find them and made a police report.
Frantic efforts to find the cattle yielded nothing, leading to Chebani resigning to the fate that his cattle had been stolen.
However, sometime in August this year, one of his stolen beasts, a bull named after one of Chebani’s ancestors in accordance with his tradition, returned home much to Chebani’s surprise.
The bull had been re-branded with a new JC brand, which is the cattle brand for Mberengwa district, but still had some ear marks, Chebani’s unique brand, which he then used to positively identify the bull as his.
After the bull’s return, Mr Chebani closely monitored its movements daily, and one day the animal took off to Mberengwa, where he followed it and was led to Tapera’s homestead.
On arrival at Tapera’s homestead, Chebani was directed to Brookland Dip Tank where everyone in the area was dipping their cattle.
At the dip tank he found his other four beasts being dipped by Tapera who had registered the cattle in his name under cattle ticket number 416693D.
The matter was reported to the police and further investigations established that Tapera had four other stolen beasts which he again had registered in his name under the same ticket number.
This led to Tapera’s arrest, subsequent appearance in court and sentencing.
Source: Sunday News