One of the country’s serial armed robbers and former Masvingo Central police officer Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi (29), who exchanged gunfire with a police crack team in an attempt to evade arrest with his other alleged accomplices in Beitbridge last year, has been granted $2 000 bail pending trial at the High Court.
Kanhanga was last week granted bail by High Court judge Justice Webster Chinamhora, and is now out of custody. Along with Musa Taj-Abul and other gang members, the suspected robbers were arrested in dramatic fashion in Beitbridge last year, with dog teams playing a leading role.
Other alleged accomplices were Beitbridge-based police officer Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa (27), Liberty Mupamhanga (29), Prince Makodza (31), Godfrey Mupamhanga (27) and Charles Lundu (47) all of Harare.
The gang is linked to a number of armed robberies, including the famous Mashwede case in Harare.
Police swooped on the seven suspected robbers and their police officer host in the Mashavire area, now known as Tshitaudze suburbs in Beitbridge.
Recently, suspected serial armed robber and gang leader Musa Taj Abdul (47) had his bail application dismissed by the High Court.
Taj Abdul’s application came after his two other accomplices, Liberty Mupamhanga (29) and Rudolf Kanhanga had, also recently approached the High Court seeking bail.
Both had their applications dismissed and they remained in custody.
Taj Abdul’s application was dismissed by High Court judge, Justice Webster Chinamhora.
Their other two suspected accomplices Spicer Takawira (28) and Musafare Mupamhanga, who were released on bail pending appeal at the High Court, have since disappeared and were issued with warrants of arrest after failing to turn up in court on April 28.
Takawira, Musafare Mupamhanga and Conwell Kasambarare are alleged to be part of the gang that raided Mashwede Holdings last year and got away with over US$100 000, R42 000, $14 000 worth of fuel coupons, firearms and 20 live rounds of ammunition. In February, another serial armed robber, Innocent Jairos, who also exchanged gunfire with the police in Beitbridge last year, was denied bail by the High Court.
There have been reports that corruption syndicates comprising police officers, prosecutors and magistrates were allegedly soliciting bribes from suspects before organising acquittals through sloppy investigations and prosecution.
It is thought that the corruption starts at the police station where suspects are discouraged from engaging lawyers, with rogue officers assuring them of acquittal and seeking bribes that are lower than what a lawyer would charge in any case, without that same degree of certainty of acquittal.
Half-baked investigations are then done before the bribed investigating officer takes the case to a prosecutor, who will be part of the syndicate, for vetting, while there are allegations of under prosecution during the trial, leaving the magistrate with no option, but to clear the suspect.
The allegations were made at an all-stakeholders’ anti-corruption conference in Harare last week by Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) executive secretary Mr Edward Mapara and backed by Police Assistant Commissioner Joseph Nyabasa.