GWELO, Tuesday, November 8, 1966 — Prison sentences totalling 18 months were imposed by the Provincial Magistrate, Mr Gerald Rose, on Mohammed Hassim Iqbal (24), of 68 Third Street, Gwelo, when he was convicted at the Gwelo Magistrate’s court of dealing in or possessing gold.
Before sentence was passed, defending counsel, Adv NJ McNally, urged the magistrate to “tamper justice with mercy” and impose a fine rather than send Iqbal to jail. But Mr Rose said there was no doubt that this offence was serious, difficult to detect and prevalent in the Midlands province.
Iqbal, he said, was convicted of a similar offence two years ago, and he proposed to deal with him separately on each count. He added that he considered he would be failing in his duty if he did not send Iqbal to prison.
He ordered that the gold should be confiscated to the Crown and that Iqbal should be prohibited from entering any precious metal mining location within the next five years. The three counts alleged illegal dealing in or possession of gold on three separate occasions — the gold involved being worth a total of £80 7s 3d. Iqbal pleaded not guilty to the first two counts but guilty to the third.
After Iqbal’s conviction, Detective Section Officer David J Wright, who has been in charge of the gold section, CID for the past year, told the court there had been more than 50 cases of illegal gold possession in the province over a year. “It takes a long time to find out who is dealing, to win their confidence and to ensure a successful trap”, he said.
Illegal gold trading has always been regarded as serious and in the view of the police it was more serious now than before. Detective Station Sergeant Mhembere of the CID, Salisbury, said that on August 24 he went to Iqbal’s Gwelo home and told him he had gold to sell.
On October 4 at Gwelo Bakery, where Iqbal then worked, said Sgt Mhembere, Iqbal handed him a Coca Cola bottle and he simultaneously handed him the gold. Iqbal also handed over £1 10s and “I finished the Coca Cola and went out and gave the signal as arranged to other members of the CID.”