By Austin Karonga

A GLENDALE farm manager, Jealous Nhemwa, sold out by his girlfriend over theft of 360 bags of fertiliser, had his appeal against conviction dismissed for lacking merit.

Nhemwa was convicted on four counts of theft and sentenced to 57 months imprisonment with 12 months suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour. 

A further 24 months imprisonment was also suspended on condition that he pays restitution.

The court heard that between December 10, 2020 and February 4 last year, Nhemwa went on crusade to deprive his bosses of proceeds of their business as he diverted the product towards self-aggrandisement.

High Court judges, Justices Happias Zhou and Benjamin Chikowero, went by the girlfriend-turned-informer witness statement among other witnesses.

“As the manager stationed at the complainant’s farm in Bindura, the appellant intercepted, at Glendale, a truck ferrying fertiliser from Harare meant for delivery at the farm. The fertiliser belonged to the complainant,” read the judgement.

“He offloaded 100 bags in respect of count two, the same number in respect of count three, eight bags in respect of count two, the same number in the fourth count, sold all except 20 bags which he delivered to his girlfriend. 20 bags were recovered from the girlfriend informing the complainant of these crimes.”

The judges dismissed Nhemwa’s defence in which he claimed that the fertiliser belonged to a transporter, one Rufaro Muterera, and sold the bags on his instructions.

“He did not dispute that he instructed one of his agents to deliver the 20 bags and, on selling some of the fertiliser, to give part of the proceeds to the girlfriend. This the agent did. 

“There was no need for the court to call the appellant’s girlfriend as its witness. She was the informer. It was common cause that the appellant instructed one of the agents to deliver 20 bags of fertiliser to this informer and from proceeds of the sale of some of the fertiliser, to give some money to her,” said the judges.

“The 20 bags were recovered. Clearly, the appellant was dealing with the fertilizer as his own. This destroyed his defence that the fertilizer sold and disposed of by him belonged to Muterera. The appeal is completely devoid of merit.”