GWERU-Gweru City Council clerical assistant (meter reader) Tafadzwa Mukwazhe (38) was slapped with 24 months in prison on charges of criminal abuse of office.
He was convicted for soliciting US$50 from a resident in return of lowering meter readings.
However, Mukwazhe escaped the jail term after Gweru Provincial Magistrate, Tendai Killian Mahwe suspended 12 months for good behavior and another 12 months that he commit 420 hours of community service at St Michaels Primary School in three weeks.
He was represented by Thomas Militao of Militao Legal Practitioners.
Prosecuting, Vivien Chindedza told the court that sometime in August 2022, Mukwazhe approached Memory Marangarire of Ascot Infill and offered to temper and adjust her water meter so that it would read lower figures.
He then demanded US$50 for the unlawful service, but Marangarire told him that she did not have such kind of money.
In September, Ostein Matembudze, husband to Marangarire received a shocking water bill of ZW$122 484.91 as compared to ZW$37 566.10 received in August 2022.
Shocked by the bill, Matembudze approached Mukwazhe who again demanded USD50 to adjust the water meter in favour of the complainant.
On November 15, Mukwazhe informed the complainant that he was coming to his house to adjust the water meter.
“Noticing the continued unlawful demand by the accused, the complainant then reported him to his superiors at council offices who in turn reported the matter to Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) who then laid a trap,” added Chindedza.
Pursuant to his unlawful intention the accused then went to Matembudze and removed the water meter in the presence of Marangarire.
He dismantled It into pieces in order to access the dial unit and ultimately temper with its proper function, which subsequently led to his arrest.