Sharon Chiware, Midlands Reporter
A SHURUGWI police officer has been fined $200 for stealing $305 which he had been tasked to surrender to a police station in Gweru.
Learnmore Tembo (29) stationed at Tongogara police station pleaded not guilty to one count of theft when he appeared before Midlands Provincial Magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa yesterday.
The magistrate however, found him guilty and fined him $200 which he should pay by November 30.
The cop risks being jailed for 30 days if he fails to pay the fine.
Mrs Msipa also slapped him with a suspended three months sentence on condition of good behaviour within the next five years.
In passing the sentence, Mrs Msipa said she had considered the fact that Tembo was a first offender.
“You are a first offender and you have three minor children and an unemployed wife to look after. What I consider as aggravating is the fact that you are a police officer who knows what is expected of you and you went on to commit this crime by converting the money to your personal use,” she said.
In mitigation through his lawyer Mr Arnold Sakwinji, Tembo pleaded for a non-custodial sentence saying he was afraid of losing his job if incarcerated.
Prosecuting, Mr Bernard Nyoni said on August 10, Tembo was tasked to take $305 and some mail to the Gweru Rural District Headquarters Finance department.
“The accused person did not proceed to Gweru Rural District Headquarters but instead diverted his route and went to an unknown destination with the money and the mail. On the very day it was discovered by his superiors from Tongogara Police Station that he had not remitted the money,” he said.
The court heard that on August 18, the accused person surrendered himself to the police without the money leading to his arrest.
Investigations, Mr Nyoni said, indicated that Tembo had sent the money to his father.