U.S.$2,7m Heist – Rifle Supplier Arrested

A rifle owner appeared in court last week for supplying the firearm used in the heist of the almost US$2,8 million along Chinhoyi Road, after the suspects told him they wanted to use the gun for poaching and return it with some game meat.

Tawanda Chikeya of Granary Phase 3, Harare, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court charged with lending, offering or hiring a firearm to “any person other than a firearm dealer”.

Chikeya, a registered firearm owner, was not asked to plead to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Mr Sheunesu Matova, who remanded him to February 25 on $15 000 bail.

It is alleged that on January 6 this year at around 7am, he gave the late Andrew Zigara a 22 Hornet rifle with nine rounds of ammunition for poaching and in return was promised game meat.

Zigara returned the rifle to Chikeya at around 3pm on the same day, but with only eight rounds of ammunition.

Prosecuting, Mr Moses Mapanga said Zigara failed to notify Chikeya within seven days how the other round of ammunition was used.

It later emerged when police were investigating the robbery of US$2,8 million along the Harare-Chinhoyi Road that the round fired on the day belonged to Chikeya’s rifle.

Zigara died from wounds he sustained after being shot by detectives in Zaka when he resisted arrest over his participation in the heist. In the heist, ZB Bank lost US$2 775 000 and $43 090, which was to be distributed among its branches, with Chinhoyi receiving US$75 000, Kadoma US$25 000, Kwekwe and Gweru US$150 000 each, Bulawayo US$2 million, Gwanda US$50 000 and Zvishavane US$100 000.

This was after the crew that was travelling in a Toyota Hilux single cab with a canopy secured with a tracker and emergency panic button fitted on the cash delivery trip picked up some passengers at Westgate and then at the Inkomo Barracks turn-off.

The crew also collected a box containing $43 090 at the first tollgate for banking.

Upon reaching the 60km peg, the car was stopped and the crew was disarmed and manhandled.

An Isuzu twin-cab immediately arrived at the scene with people armed with pistols. They took the bank’s Hilux about 900 metres off the main road, and off-loaded the cash boxes before disappearing.

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