A 29-year-old Gokwe man was arrested for stealing a $600 000 bus from Mbare and driving it all the way to his rural home.
Phibion Mavhondo who allegedly intended to travel to Gokwe but did not have bus fare found the bus parked with its engine running at Mbare Bus Terminus.
He first pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle when he appeared before regional magistrate Jacqueline Pratt in Harare on Wednesday, 18 October.
However, when Mavhondo said he had no intention to permanently deprive the owner of the Kukura Kurerwa bus, the magistrate altered his plea to one of not guilty.
He is jointly charged with Christopher Dube (26), who claims he was picked up along Bulawayo Road and offered a lift to Gokwe and had no idea the bus was stolen.
The Herald reported that Mavhondo told the court that he decided to take the bus because he had no bus fare to travel to Gokwe.
He said he found the ignition keys in and confirmed that there was enough fuel to take him to Gokwe.
Mavhondo reportedly said his intention was to leave the bus with the keys near his destination to be recovered by its owner.
Prosecutor Lawrence Phiri told the court that on 02 May 2023, the shunting driver of Kukura Kurerwa bus company left his bus parked at the Mbare bus terminus with the engine running and the ignition keys on.
Phiri said Mavhondo and Dube then got into the bus and Mavhondo, who was once a driver for the company, drove the bus.
It is further alleged that later that evening, Mavhondo parked at Masoro in Gokwe and went to visit his girlfriend, leaving Dube on the bus.
Around midnight the owner of the bus, who with two others was tracking down the vehicle, found the bus parked and arrested Dube.
Dube then implicated Mavhondo who was also arrested.
At the time of the recovery, the bus’ value had dropped $3 430 to $596 570 because of damage owing to the long drive and because the spare wheel was missing.
Dube denied the charge and told the court that he was only given a lift by Mavhondo and did not know that the vehicle had been stolen.
He claimed that Mavhondo specifically said he wanted one passenger only going to Gokwe. This was confirmed by Mavhondo in his evidence.