US$720 000 robbers in court

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

US$720 000 robbers in court 
Six suspected armed robbers who raided a financial services company in Belgravia and got away with over US$720 676 arrive at the Harare Magistrates Court for their initial remand yesterday

Freeman Razemba and Prosper Dembedza

SIX suspected armed robbers who raided a financial services company in Belgravia, Harare and fled with over US$720 676, R10 500, Euro 120, a 7.65 mm CZ Vzor pistol and three laptops yesterday appeared in court and were ordered to remain in police custody for another 48 hours until tomorrow.

Washington Mangwanda (21), Brighton Chikuwa (27), Silence Matambo (27), Liberty Mukangaise (31), Richard Marondera (25) and Luke Zinyengere (28) faced armed robbery charges when they appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei.

The State applied for a warrant of further detention to allow police to continue holding the gang during another 48 hours of investigations.

Prosecutor Anesu Chirene applied for a warrant of further detention, saying that the CID Homicide officers needed 48 hours to conduct interviews as well as take the suspects for indications.

The police need the accused persons to recover all the property that was bought by the proceeds of crime.

Defence lawyer Mr Tawanda Takaendesa was not opposed to the application, but to the period of detention. He suggested that an additional 24 hours was enough for interviews by police, and opposed the submissions by the State for making indications.

The allegations against the gang are that on Friday last week they went to rob Lancelot Tashayawedu at his offices at 6 Rochester Road in Belgravia armed with a revolver, an unidentified blank pistol, a drill, an iron bar, a bolt cutter and explosives.

The gang was driving in four separate vehicles: a blue Honda Fit, a silver Honda Fit, a black Mercedes Benz and a black Toyota Wish.

Upon arrival, they approached Mr Tashayawedu in his bedroom and tied his hands and legs with an electric cable, leaving him under guard by one of the alleged robbers while the others smashed the window pane of one of the office buildings to gain entry into the office.

The gang allegedly ransacked several offices at the building including the server room, the managing director’s office, the operations manager’s office and the board room. It is the State’s case that the suspected robbers blasted open the strong room and the safes with explosives and stole cash amounting to US$720 676, two small cash boxes, 3 HP laptops, a small monarch bag, a wi fi router, ZAR10 500, 120 euros, PABX telephone machine and a 7.65mm CZ Vzor pistol serial numbers 20273 belonging to Peace Security Company.

Their plan was disturbed by the arrival of the Safe Guard reaction team who parked their vehicle at the front of the offices. The robbers fled from the scene, leaving a grinder, fuse cables and a bag with two laptops. The gang also dropped cash amounting to US$5 000 on their way out. They broke precast panels at the back of the premises.

In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said detectives from CID Homicide, Harare received information which linked Brighton Chikukwa to the offence. The detectives tracked the suspect to Mbare, Harare where he was arrested and he allegedly implicated the other suspects and Zacharia Charuwanda Allias Zero, Trymore Chimbambo, Maxwell Kadzembe as well as three employees at Quest Financial Services.

Police allege Chikukwa received US$40 000 cash as part of his share from the loot. The detectives recovered US$25 000 cash and a Ford Ranger D4D vehicle, registration number AGC 6541, which he had allegedly bought for US$14 000. Silence Matambo and Washington Mangwanda were later arrested in Mbare after being lured by Chikukwa.

The detectives recovered US$22 000 cash which was allegedly given to Matambo and Mangwanda as part of their share of the loot.

Police allege Mangwanda was given US$25 000 as part of his share which he used to buy a Toyota Aqua vehicle for US$5 300 and gave his mother US$ 10 000 and another US$5 000 to his wife for personal use.

Detectives acted on received information and arrested Liberty Mukanganise at Boka Tobacco Auction Floors in Waterfalls. Investigations by the detectives revealed that he was allegedly given US$ 23 000 cash as part of his share of the loot. He led the detectives to the recovery of US$20 560 cash, a car radio, a sub-woofer, seat covers valued at US$55, four size 15 tyres valued at US$240, car shields valued at US$35 and Mag wheels valued at US$400.

Tafadzwa Richard Marondera and Luke Zinyengere were later arrested in Glen View and led the detectives to the recovery of US$50 600 cash. It was established that Marondera was given US$35 000 as part of his share while Zinyengere was given US$25 000.

The detectives recovered a Mark X vehicle, registration number AFR 7059, which Zinyengere had allegedly bought for US$1 100, an iPhone 14 Pro Max bought for US$ 1 300, and an iPhone 15 Pro Max bought for US$1 500.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police applauds the public for supplying positive information which has assisted the police to account for armed robbery suspects throughout the country. The police reiterates that company executives must ensure that information on institutions’ financial transactions, security and movements is not shared with every employee.

“It is now clear that most high-profile robbery cases have an element of inside information. The public is urged to continue forwarding information regarding criminal activities to the National Complaints Desk number (0242) 703631 or WhatsApp 0712 800 197 or contact any nearest Police Station,” Assistant Comm Nyathi said.