A former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) captain and chaplain says his business crumbled when he was in jail after he was wrongly convicted of theft.
Solomon Ndlovu (52), who was a chaplain at Mbalabala Barracks, was wrongly jailed for six years for theft of a vehicle belonging to businessman Osfael Mazibuko.
He was convicted of theft of a motor vehicle in January 2018 by Beitbridge regional magistrate Mark Dzira after a full trial.
Ndlovu was sentenced to six years in jail, with two months suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
A further five months were suspended on condition he restituted Mazibuko US$2 500, leaving him with an effective 65 months to serve.
On 16 September 2019, two High Court judges, Justices Maxwell Takuva and Thompson Mabhikwa, set aside both conviction and sentence and acquitted Ndlovu after his lawyer Abel Ndlovu of Dube and Associates, filed an appeal at the Bulawayo High Court.
The lawyers argued that Dzira erred and misdirected himself by attaching criminal liability to the former army captain arguing that the agreement was a civil matter.
The State, which had been cited as the respondent, did not oppose the application that both the conviction and sentence were improper.
By the time he was acquitted, Ndlovu had served one year and eight months at Khami Maximum Security Prison in Bulawayo.
Speaking to NewsDay last week, Ndlovu said he has suffered major losses due to his incarceration. He said:
If it was not for this false criminal case, I could have gone very far in life. But this case grounded and destroyed all my plans.
Everyone thought I was out and done with, including my wife who even refused to take me back when I was released thinking that this matter will come back again.
People looted my farm — Mjinge Conservancy in Mwenezi, Masvingo which Mazibuko had also snatched and I repossessed it through the courts. My farmhouse was vandalised and I lost cattle.