Orchestra Dendera Kings band leader Sulumani Chimbetu was yesterday fined $100 for failing to pay $800 maintenance fees for his two children on time.
Chimbetu (35) defaulted paying maintenance for April this year and later paid the money on June 12. He was given an option of 20 days in prison and the $100 fine is to be paid on or before July 28.
In his ruling, Harare magistrate Ms Annia Ndiraya said letting Chimbetu walk way was tantamount to condoning wrongdoing.
“Maintenance involves the interest of minor children,” she said. “You pleaded not guilty and wasted the court’s time and resources. For the accused to say the maintenance order did not specify the date of payment is promoting lawlessness and is clearly mischievous.”
Prosecutor Mrs Devoted Nyagano urged the court to order community service for Chimbetu. “He is now a visitor to the court on maintenance issues,” she said. “He only pays when he is arrested. Last year, he also paid after coming to court and the matter was with- drawn.”
In mitigation, Chimbetu, through his lawyer Mr Conwell Mutevhe, said not many people spend $800 on the upkeep of a whole family, let alone two children who go to a Government school.
“The accused is a frontman of his enterprise and he has to work,” said Mr Mutevhe. “The hefty maintenance is punitive and he is taking action to have it varied downwards.
“He does not depend on a salary and that is affecting his ability to satisfy the order. He is now in debt trying to satisfy the order. The complainant said she is a hustler, but she hustles in the maintenance court. She is settling personal goals.”
Mr Mutevhe later apologised for attacking the character of the complainant, Chimbetu’s ex-wife, Ms Marygold Mutemasango. Chimbetu was taken to court by Ms Mutemasango who accused him of failing to pay the $800 for the upkeep of their two minor children for the month of April.