Two men believed to be part of a syndicate targeting solar-controlled traffic lights in Harare and stealing solar panel accessories, have been arrested and hauled before a magistrate. Michael Gupuku (35) and Misheck Mudadi (42), both from Belvedere, Harare, reportedly used a hacksaw to cut the steel poles where the solar panels are mounted before looting the kit.
It is alleged that they would steal batteries, inverters, chargers and solar panels and other electrical gadgets rendering the traffic lights dysfunctional leading to massive traffic congestions.
The pair last week appeared before magistrate Ms Barbra Chimboza charged with theft.
They were remanded in custody to today for bail ruling.
Prosecuting, Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa opposed bail on the basis that they were likely to abscond or re-offend.
“Your Worship, there is overwhelming evidence against the pair since some of the stolen property was recovered at their house,” he said.
“They are likely to be convicted and sent to prison for a lengthy prison term. This alone can induce fear in them thereby forcing them to abscond trial if they are granted bail.
“They are facing a serious offence and their actions affected the whole community. It would not be in the interest of justice to grant them bail. Also, similar cases are being reported and we suspect the pair is part of that syndicate.”
Mr Mutizirwa added that Gupuku and Mudadi were not proper candidates for bail since they attempted to escape during indications with the police.
On the other hand, the duo denied the allegations adding that they were innocent until proven guilty.
It is the State’s case that sometime in January this year, the pair, in connivance, proceeded to the traffic lights at the intersection of Kirkman Road and Harare Drive armed with blades.
They used the blades to cut down the pole where the solar panels were mounted, the court heard.
They allegedly stole batteries, inverter, chargers and solar panels and disappeared into the dark.
They tried to sell the items and on February 2, following a tip-off, police officers proceeded to Gupuku’s house where they recovered some of the stolen property.
Gupuku then implicated Mudadi leading to the pair’s arrest. – The Herald Newspaper