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Businessman in community service storm

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is set to give a report after highlighting that it is investigating if Harare businessman Tony Renato Sarpo  indeed performed  210 hours community service given as an alternative to jail term for vehicle theft at Morris Deport in December last year.

ZACC Chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo confirmed receiving a complaint in February this year after the person whose car was stolen has been active in following up on the matter and made a formal complaint.

I can confirm that we received a report of possible corruption involving a man who is said to have defaulted on community service. I have referred the report to the investigators, who are now investigating the case,” she said.

The development follows two conflicting reports from the police on queries by the Department of Community Service.

The first report said Sarpo had not reported for community service, while the second report said he (Sarpo) had reported but giving some work dates that fell on weekends.

The director of community service in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ms Loice Majonga wrote a report to the Harare Magistrate’s Court alleging that department officers who visited Morris Deport in mid-January failed to locate Sarpo and obtained a report indicating that he had never reported for work since December last year leading to a warrant of arrest being issued against him.

 “The community service Department notes your interest in this matter and would like to advice that it stands by its initially established position that your client never reported at Morris Depot to do community service.

“Furthermore, please take notice that the breach enquiry produced has already been initiated and it’s our considered view, buttressed by the community service policy framework or terms of references that such matters be handled by way of conducting breach enquires,” read the letter dated January 21 2020.

On 15 January 2020, the quartermaster’s office at Morris Deport commended as follows:

“Please be advised that we never saw this person at our premises ever since.”

Inspector J. Bvonyongwa wrote a contrary statement to the 15 January 2020 report later saying:

I hereby confirm that the above mentioned man (Sarpo) has been reporting for duty at this workshop as indicated on the attached duty roaster from December 21 2019. When the court made a visit through the community service office at Morris Depot on 15th January 2020, they visited the wrong office, which is not conversant with the goings on at the workshop.”

The court had ordered Sarpo to do community service during week days but this report which was produced by the police showed that Sarpo performed unpaid work even on weekends.

Sarpo was on 11 December 2019 convicted by Harare Magistrate, Nyasha Lee Vitorini of breaching a trust agreement between Matebeleland Engineering (Pvt) Ltd and himself after he sold a motor vehicle belonging to the company.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment of which six months are suspended for three years on condition accused (Sarpo) does not within that period commit any offence involving dishonesty for which he would be sentenced to prison without the option of a fine.

The remaining six months were suspended on condition that accused (Sarpo) completes 210 hours of community service at Z.R.P. Morris Depot.

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