Robbers Trial in False Start

The trial of eight suspected Zvishavane armed robbers, among them two police officers, who allegedly raided a Chinese mining company and went away with an Isuzu pick-up truck, 48 grammes of gold, US$8 820, $6 800 bond notes and 2 155 Chinese yuan, failed to kick off on Friday last week as the prosecution was not ready.

The gang appeared before Gweru regional magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa after Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese last week dismissed their application for bail.

In his ruling, Justice Makonese said there was no guarantee that if given bail, the applicants –Moses Karumbidza (30) and Isaac Kawundura (33), who are both police officers based in Mberengwa and attached to the ZRP Support Unit, together with Thulani Nkala (38), Taurai Matarirano (27), Tady Magama (25), Learnmore Makore (27), Wellington Moyo (34) and Hardlife Mazheke (28) all from Zvishavane — would not abscond.

Mrs Msipa remanded the gang in custody to February 15 for trial.

The State led by Mr Talent Tadenyika said they were waiting for other documents from the Zvishavane court where they first appeared.

“The State in its submissions notified the court that it is not yet ready for trial since it is waiting for other documents from their (accused’s) court of origin in Zvishavane and the accused are therefore remanded in custody to February 15 for commencement of trial,” she said

The gang’s lawyer, Mr Leopold Mudisi of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners, notified the court of their intention to approach the Supreme Court.

“We are notifying the court our intention to approach the Supreme Court to contest the ruling by Justice Makonese.

“My clients feel they are right candidates for bail,” he said.

It is the State case that on December 11 last year Karumbidza, Kawundura, Nkala, Matarirano, Magama, Makore, Moyo and Mazheke allegedly armed themselves with three rifles and four pistols and went to Camlark Mine.

They allegedly ganged up with eight others still at large.

It is alleged that the 16-member gang, disguised as police officers, force-marched security details at Camlark Mine to the residence of the Chinese owners of the mine.

They used a bolt cutter to destroy a padlock at the gate before accessing the residence.

They allegedly fired two shots, prompting one of the occupants, Mr Zhang Ren Lon, to come out of the house to investigate.

The suspects manhandled Mr Zhang and took him back into his house where they ordered him to show them where he kept the money.

The gang allegedly looted cash amounting to US$8 820, $6 800 bond notes and 2 155 Chinese yuan.

They also broke into one of the mine offices and took a computer hard drive and 48 grammes of gold and loaded them into the stolen car and drove off.

A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the suspects.

Mr Talent Tadenyika prosecuted.

Source : The Herald

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