Zimbabwean man face deportation over arson rage

PORTSMOUTH, UK – A Zimbabwean man who served for four years in the British army has been told he faces deportation after spending the last two years in jail for an arson attack on his own home.

Gift Kugara, 30, has been stripped of his indefinite leave to remain in the UK after serving two years of a four-year sentence.

The former Kent University student was due to be released on probation on September 20, but has now been told that he will be handed over to immigration authorities for removal to Zimbabwe.

Overseas criminals convicted of crimes warranting a jail sentence of a year or more can normally be kicked out of Britain when they are released from prison – on the grounds that their presence is "not conducive to the public good".

Friends fear that Kugara, currently held in Highdown prison in Sutton, may be targeted by Zimbabwe’s security services for serving in the British army.

“Gift is a good guy who made mistakes and has served his time,” a friend said on Tuesday. “But for somebody who has served in the army, it would obviously be very difficult for him to integrate back home.

“It feels unfair to me that he has been put in this situation.”

Kugara was a second-year actuarial science student at Kent University when he burnt down his home in Gosport, near Portsmouth, following an rgument with his wife on December 30, 2007.

The fire caused more than £30,000 worth of damage.
Earlier, Kugara and his wife, Juliette, had gone with friends for a night out in Gosport.
The pair argued in a nightclub after Kugara thought another man was being “over familiar” with his wife.

After a minor scuffle he was thrown out of the club and took a taxi home. When he got back to the flat in Marles Close, Rowner, he flew into a rage and smashed his television and trashed his own possessions.

He then set fire to the property and walked out. A court heard he went round banging on neighbours’ doors informing them about the fire.

Kugara has always denied that he started the fire, insisting that he had burnt a sausage roll.