Disqualified candidate in the recently held Zanu PF primary election for the Chipinge South House of Assembly seat, Robert Nyemudzo, was on Wednesday jailed an effective 18 months by a Chipinge magistrate for brewing illicit beer at his homestead at Checheche growth point.
Nyemudzo (42) had entered a not guilty plea when he appeared before Chipinge resident magistrate Mr Franklin Mkwananzi for judgment and sentencing on Wednesday.
He was facing charges of contravening the Harmful Liquids Act and was convicted after the State found incriminating evidence against him.
In mitigation Nyemudzo’s lawyer Mr Simon Simango of Nyikadzino and Simango Associates pleaded for a moderate sentence.
“Your worship, I am pleading with the courts to pass a light sentence in the form of a fine or community service because he is a first offender.
“The accused is a family man with two wives and eight children and if the courts give him a custodial sentence, it will ruin the future of his family.
“He is a benefactor of the family and is taking care of his ailing father and mother. The accused emerged victorious in the just ended Zanu PF primary election and the party hierarchy sent a team to investigate the alleged offence and found him clean. The courts should also consider this in sentencing,’’ said Mr Simango.
However,the State led by Mr Thulani Zondwayo dismissed the submission and said a deterrent sentence for the accused was appropriate.
“There are aggravating circumstances in this matter. The accused was brewing beer in large quantities for commercial purposes.
“A report from forensic scientists on the contents of the illicit beer is frightening on the level on which the brew is dangerous to consumers. The accused used fake names of recognised brands to push sales to unsuspecting consumers which is not fair. Therefore, I am praying for a custodial sentence,” said Mr Zondwayo.
In sentencing him the magistrate Mr Mkwananzi said the court had proved with no reasonable doubt that Mr Nyemudzo committed the offence.
Mr Mkwananzi said the accused committed a serious offence which deserved a custodial sentence which would deter would-be offenders from committing offences.
He said the incident occurred at a time Government was fighting the supply of drugs and dangerous substances.
“This is a serious offence which deserves a custodial sentence. Illicit beer and drugs have caused untold suffering to the people in the country. The Government has taken stern measures in fighting drug abuse and the judiciary has also taken an equally stern view against drugs. It will be a mockery to the justice system to pass a light sentence as we want to deter would-be offenders,” said Mr Mkwananzi.
Mr Mkwananzi sentenced him 24 months and suspended six months on condition that the accused did not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
Circumstances are that in 2020 police in Chisumbanje were conducting an operation code named “No to illicit beer” at Checheche growth point.
During the operation, the police details received a tip off that Mr Nyemudzo was brewing beer at his homestead at stand number 708 phase 2, Checheche growth point.
The police approached the homestead and found Nyemudzo’s employees brewing illicit beer. They were diluting ethanol blend with water.
The police then confiscated 20, 360x200mls bottles of illicit beer and 2, 380x200mls empty plastic bottles as well as 6×20 litre buckets of ethanol blend. Herald