George Muganda, 42, pleaded guilty to contravening section 89 (4) (b) of the Postal and Telecommunications Act which prohibits wilful damage, interference, or theft of telecommunication lines and apparatus. He was caught red-handed digging up underground telecommunication cables.
Harare magistrate Josephine Sande considered that Muganda was a first offender and family man but explained that she was bound by the mandatory penal provisions called for in such offences.
Muganda also failed to proffer special circumstances to induce the court into passing a lesser sentence.
“Your worship offences of such nature are on the rise and it is clear that the accused persons had premeditated this offence,” prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri said.
“Their conduct has the effect of interfering with operations of telecommunications systems and often they leave open pits and wires endangering the public.”
Mukumbiri proved that on March 8, Muganda hatched a plan to steal TelOne underground cables and left his home in Muguta, Epworth to Msasa in Harare.
He connived with his accomplice Sylvester Chipika and armed themselves with a pick and shovel.
Around 11pm, officers from Rhodesville Police Station were on patrol and as they reached Eleven Ninths Street in Msasa, they noticed Muganda and his accomplice in a trench busy digging up the cables.
The police officers drew closer, being careful not to alert Muganda and Chipika in order to arrest them Chipika then bolted out of the trench and one of the police officers gave chase but he managed to escape.
When Muganda was arrested, police officers discovered that they had already cut a 4, 3 metres long cable valued at $55,12.
He was arrested and taken to the police station.-DN