A FOREIGN currency dealer commonly known as usiphatheleni allegedly bribed a 17-year-old girl with $150 to steal an 18-month-old baby for her, a magistrate heard yesterday.
Bulawayo regional magistrate Chrispen Mberewere heard this when Rose Chivima (37) of Old Pumula suburb and her teenage accomplice who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before him facing kidnapping charges.
Chivima allegedly connived with the girl to kidnap an 18-month-old baby and offered her $150. Chivima is denying the charge while her accomplice pleaded guilty. They were both remanded out of custody to today.
Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa said on February 12 this year at about 1PM, the teenage girl approached Ms Moreblessings Dube and asked to take her two minor children to the shops to buy them drinks. The court heard that after about an hour, one of Ms Dube’s children returned home alone.
Ms Dube quizzed her daughter on the whereabouts of her sibling and she revealed that she had boarded a kombi with the teenager.
The complainant became suspicious and reported the matter to the police. When the teenager was apprehended, she implicated Chivima who was also arrested.
When the teenage girl took to the witness stand, she said Chivima gave her $150 in exchange for the stolen baby. She told the court that she did not know what Chivima intended to do with the stolen baby.
Ms Dube, in her testimony, said the teenager was communicating with Chivima on WhatsApp while they were on their way to the police station.
“It looks like the accused persons had planned this whole thing with precision. I suspect Chivima decided to take my baby to the police station after she was tipped off by her co-accused since they were communicating via WhatsApp,” said Ms Dube.
Chivima, in her defence, said the teenager left the baby with her as “surety” after she gave her $150.
“My co-accused approached me under the pretext that she was sent by her mother who wanted to change R2 000 into US dollars. She then hoodwinked me into believing that she was a genuine client and I gave her $150. She offered to leave the baby with me on the understanding that she was going to collect R2 000 from her mother,” said Chivima.
She told the court that she became suspicious when her co-accused took long to return.
“I got worried when my co-accused was nowhere to be seen. I then decided to go to the police station together with the baby and reported the matter to the police, but to my surprise they detained me on allegations of kidnapping,” said Chivima.
“I’m a single mother of five and why would I kidnap someone’s child, especially a stranger for that matter? This is a fabricated story by my co-accused who wants to cover up for defrauding me of my money.”