A 40-YEAR-OLD woman from Mvuma has been fined $200 000 or six months in prison for illegally opening a bottle store during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The court heard Plaxedes Chivera in January opened her bottle store and served seating patrons inside the bottle store, thereby flouting lockdown regulations. When she saw police officers on patrol, she opened the doors and asked her patrons to leave.
Chivera was convicted by Mvuma magistrate Ms Constance Mutandwa of flouting lockdown regulations by opening the bottle store. She was fined $200 000 or in default six months imprisonment.
Ms Mutandwa said Chivera had committed a serious offence by flouting lockdown regulations hence the need to pass a deterrent sentence.
She said businesses should take seriously the issue of observing lockdown regulations as this is meant to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Chivera, who was a self-actor during her trial, has since engaged Gweru’s lawyer, Mr Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa Legal Practice to appeal against her sentence.
Chivera argues that the sentence passed is too harsh and excessive given the economic hardships that everyone is facing due to the lockdown.
Prosecutor Ms Helen Khosa told the court that Chivera was employed at Touchstone bottle store in Mvuma.
The court heard that on January 14 around 7pm, Chivera opened her bottle store and allowed patrons to sit inside while selling them beer.
She had locked her patrons inside the bottle store. The court heard that when Chivera saw police officers on patrol, she unlocked the door and asked her patrons to leave.
Police officers managed to arrest two of the patrons, Tinashe Bote and Portia Tafirei, in the bottle store.
Bote and Tafirei were charged with drinking beer at a public place and making unnecessary movements during the lockdown and paid admission of guilt fines of $500 each.