Bid to shoot workmates backfires

Fungai Jachi Court Correspondent
A prison officer, who intended to shoot his workmates at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare after robbing one of them of an AK47 rifle, was on Thursday sentenced to three years in jail.

Proud Chigodho (25) appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo charged with robbery.

He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Mr Mapfumo sentenced Chigodho to four years in jail, but suspended a year of the sentence on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

In passing sentence, Mr Mapfumo considered that Chigodho was a first offender who had pleaded guilty.

“The courts try not to send first offenders to prison, but you committed a serious offence and a custodial sentence is therefore appropriate in this matter,” he said.

In aggravation, prosecutor Mr Desire Chidanire said a custodial sentence would serve as an appropriate sentence.

“The accused is a prison officer at the largest facility in the country that harbours dangerous criminals. The court also has to consider that there is a record of prison officers who helped prisoners escape before and this could have been a plot to initiate a prison break,” he said.

Mr Chidanire also said it was important for the court to give Chigodho a harsh sentence so as to deter would be offenders.

Facts are that on September 29 this year at around 8pm, Clifford Mujena was on duty at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and armed with an AK 47 rifle.

At around 9:30pm Chigodho, who was off duty, passed through the guard point where Mujena was manning the canteen. He jumped on Mujena’s back and grabbed his rifle.

He escaped with the gun and proceeded to the canteen where other prison officers were drinking beer.

He tried to shoot several times, but the gun had no magazine.