Robber involved in US$720k heist jailed 12 years

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Robber involved in US$720k heist jailed 12 years 
Obvious Kuwanza (28) (left) was yesterday jailed 12 years for the robbery of US$720 000 from Quest Financial Services

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

ONE of the men who was part of a gang that robbed Quest Financial Services in Harare of US$720 676, R10 500, €120 was yesterday jailed for 12 years.

He got a share of US$20 000 from the heist.

Obvious Kuwanza (28), who is employed as a tout at Mbudzi roundabout, pleaded guilty to the robbery charge when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Estere Chivasa.

She initially sentenced Kuwanza to 12 years imprisonment and suspended one year on condition of good behaviour.

The complainant in this matter is Quest Financial Services, represented by its head of operations, Daniel Mandizvidza. Prosecutor Ms Heather Muwokoto proved that on February 23 at around 4.45pm, Mandizvidza knocked off and left a locked vault with cash amounting to US$720 676, R10 500, €120 and other valuables.

Mandizvidza assigned Lancelot Tashayawedu, a security guard manning the premises overnight, to secure the property as always. On February 25 at about 1am, Kuwanza and others who are already in remand prison and others still at large, plotted to raid the premises.

They armed themselves with a revolver, a pistol, an electric drill, an iron bar, a bolt cutter and cut the security fence at the front of the yard to gain entry into the premises.

Once inside, they confronted Tashayawedu who was sleeping in one of the rooms at the back of the main building and threatened to harm him and his girlfriend if he disobeyed their orders.

The couple’s hands and legs were tied with electric cables.

One of the robbers was left to guard the couple, while others went into the main office building where they ransacked several offices, taking two laptops and a wi-fi router. They used detonators to open the vault and stole the cash.

The suspects fled from the premises after a Safeguard Security Company reaction team arrived. One of the robbers fired two shots in the air to scare the Safeguard team and the robbers fled using the back space of a neighbouring property.

The matter was reported to ZRP Avondale on the same day at around 1.45am.

The scene was attended by ZRP Avondale and detectives from CID Homicide Harare where CCTV footage was obtained showing the robbers committing the offence.

On reviewing the CCTV footage, detectives  identified three of the robbers as Washington Mangwanda, Brighton Chikukwa and Silence Matambo, whom they knew from previous cases.