Melody Baya Court Reporter
A POLICE officer who went absent without official leave (AWOL) on New Year’s Eve, taking with him a fully loaded AK47 rifle that he went on to keep under his bed at his residence, has been jailed for an effective seven months.
Thomas Madondo, 28, who was stationed at Fairbridge Police Station appeared before Magistrate Abednico Ndebele facing charges of failing to secure a firearm.
The court heard that on December 31 Madondo left Makona base in Hwange where he had been deployed to Nkulumane where he resides with a fully loaded AK47.
Madondo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten months imprisonment.
Three months were suspended on the condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next three years.
“Your intentions behind taking a fully loaded rifle from Hwange to Bulawayo and hiding it under your bed remain unclear. You have been a police officer for six years and you know very well that you cannot just go around with a service gun from Hwange to Bulawayo,” said Ndebele.
“I will send you to jail for reasons that you behaved recklessly and put others at risk by keeping a loaded gun under your bed.”
Prosecuting, Maria John, told the court that on December 24, 2015 the accused was deployed at Makona Base, Hwange together with other police officers.
On December 31, he left for home, without authority.
“He had a service rifle, an AK47 which was fully loaded with 30 rounds. He then sneaked out of the base and proceeded to his house in Nkulumane suburb where he placed the rifle under his bed.
He thereafter drove around the city enjoying with friends until he was arrested on January 2, 2016,” said John.
The prosecutor said Madondo failed to secure the firearm in terms of the Firearms Act.