Mai TT starts 9 months jail term

Felistus Murata, known as Mai TT, arrives at the Harare Magistrate Court while holding a baby for her sentencing yesterday.

Felistus Murata, popularly known as Mai TT through her social media antics, was yesterday jailed for an effective nine months after she was this week convicted of theft of trust property after she used a hired car as surety for a loan.

The custodial sentence was lengthened by another three months from the original effective six after authorities discovered that she had defaulted on community service after a previous conviction, serving just 19 of the required 105 hours.

Magistrate Mrs Munashe Sibanda, in handing down sentence, said Murata was not a good candidate for community service as she defaulted before and a fine was not deterrent enough, hence the need for a custodial sentence.

For defaulting to serve community service, Murata was sentenced to three months in jail.

For the theft of trust property charge, she was initially slapped with 12 months in jail, but six were suspended on the condition of good behaviour.

This was after the State confirmed from the community service department that indeed Murata was once convicted by a Mbare court for a domestic violence case involving her ex-husband Tawanda Mutikani in October 2015.

Then Murata was sentenced to three months in jail which were suspended on condition that she performed 105 hours of community service, but she defaulted to serve her sentence in Budiriro.

She was subsequently issued with a warrant of arrest on February 1, 2016. Challenging the issue, her lawyer Mr Admire Masango told the court that his client was not aware of the warrant.

“The warrant of arrest was never brought to Murata; she wasn’t aware,” he said. “She requested to be transferred to perform her community service from Glen View Polyclinic to Budiriro because she was being abused there.

“She was told by the Community Service Department that they will get back to her and they never did, hence she never followed up on the issue.”

Prosecutor Ms Monalisa Magwenzi in aggravation said Murata wilfully defaulted the community service  and was a dishonest person.

“Murata was aware that she was supposed to serve 105 hours, but she only performed 19 hours and stopped,” she said.

“She made no inquiries about it for eight years now.

“It was her responsibility to comply with the court’s judgment. She insisted that she was never convicted of any offense before on Wednesday in front of me, her counsel, and the community service department. This shows she is untrustworthy, her default was wilful and her warrant should be confirmed.”

The State proved that Murata hired a Mercedes Benz from Else Event Car Hire last year and handed the vehicle over as collateral for a US$10 000 loan to Ms Rachel Mhuka.

Despite knowing that the hired vehicle was accumulating charges, she went to the United States without returning it to the owner. She then came back to Zimbabwe after her visa was cancelled, claimed back the Mercedes Benz saying it did not belong to her and handed over another vehicle, an Audi Q5.

That vehicle was also hired. She again reclaimed this vehicle and replaced it with an invalid passport as surety.

When Ms Mhuka realised that the passport was invalid, she confronted Murata who immediately sent back the second vehicle as security, the stolen Audi.

The Audi owner then reclaimed the vehicle from Ms Mhuka.


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