By Thandeka Moyo
BULAWAYO – An armed robber serving a 24-year jail stretch, has been slapped with an additional 10 years in prison for shooting at three cops who wanted to arrest him.
Isaac Muunganirwa was involved in a series of armed robberies and carjackings before he was arrested in 2001.
He was yesterday convicted of three counts of attempted murder by senior regional magistrate Mark Dzira.
Handing down sentence, Dzira ordered Muunganirwa to also pay a $400 fine for using a firearm without a licence or face three months imprisonment.
“This court finds you guilty of three counts of attempted murder. However, the three counts will be treated as one for purposes of sentencing. You are therefore sentenced to 10 effective years in prison,” said magistrate Dzira.
In his defence, Muunganirwa told the court that a Detective Tyavanai Madungwe stole his gold worth $8,000 and later got him arrested to cover up his act.
He said Madungwe was only interested in stealing his gold when he chased him for an alleged robbery.
“This man is lying to this honourable court. He knew I had gold and he stole my 200 grammes of gold that day. I don’t own a pistol and for him to claim I fired shots at him is nothing but fabrication of information to cover up,” said Muunganirwa who was assisted by a speech therapist due to his blurred speech.
Muunganirwa, who at one time escaped from police custody, was part of a five-member armed robbery gang before he was arrested together with two of his brothers. His brothers were later acquitted when he was convicted.
When police finally arrested Muunganirwa, he had been on the run for four years. He ran out of luck while attending a friend’s funeral. He tried to escape and the police chased him for more than 15km.
The State led by Tinashe Dzipe said Muunganirwa, who terrorised Bulawayo residents in a series of armed robberies and carjackings with four of his siblings, was transferred from Chikurubi Maximum to Khami Prison earlier this year.
Agreed facts are that on August 25, 2002, police spotted Muunganirwa at Nxele area near the Plumtree Border Post where he was hiding.
“The police details asked to search him, but he dropped the satchel he was carrying and fled.
As three policemen were chasing him, he fell down and drew a pistol before firing at them. The police managed to evade the bullets by taking cover and firing back at him. Muunganirwa, however, managed to escape and disappeared into the bush,” said Dzipe.
He said Muunganirwa was later arrested following a dramatic shootout with six members of the Support Unit after running out of ammunition.
The pistol used in the crime was not recovered.
Muunganirwa, who at one time escaped from police custody, was part of a five-member gang that robbed people at gunpoint before their arrest in 2001. His other brother Christopher, was shot dead in Botswana during a robbery in July 2006. The Chronicle