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Mai TT’s theft case postponed over community service default

A popular Zimbabwean comedienne, Felistus Murata, also known as Mai TT, faces jail time for stealing two hired cars and using them as collateral for a loan. She was supposed to be sentenced yesterday by Harare magistrate Mrs Munashe Chibanda, but the case was adjourned to today after new information emerged that she had previously defaulted on community service for an assault conviction.

Murata had hired a Mercedes Benz from Else Event Car Hire last year and gave it to Rachel Mhuka as security for a US$10 000 loan. She then travelled to the United States, leaving the car to accrue charges. When her visa was cancelled, she returned to Zimbabwe and took back the car, claiming it was not hers. She replaced it with another hired car, an Audi Q5.

She later retrieved the Audi Q5 and gave Ms Mhuka an invalid passport as surety. Mhuka discovered the fraud and demanded the car back. Murata obliged, but the car was soon seized by the police, who had been alerted by Else Event Car Hire that it had been stolen by Murata. The car was worth US$18 000.

Murata’s lawyer Admire Masango pleaded for leniency, saying his client was a single mother, breadwinner of her two children, had dependents and was HIV positive.

The State, led by Mrs Monalisa Magwenzi, said Murata had shown no remorse and had abused the trust of the car hire company and Ms Mhuka.