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Savanna Tobacco accountant ‘staged’ $20 000 daylight robbery

By Tanaka Mrewa

A couple from Bulawayo has been arrested for using a toy gun to allegedly stage an armed robbery at Savanna Tobacco offices where more than $20 000 was stolen on Tuesday last week.

Azellia Madzorera (24) an accountant at Savanna Tobacco and her husband Craig Shamu (27)
Azellia Madzorera (24) an accountant at Savanna Tobacco and her husband Craig Shamu (27)

The couple allegedly connived with the husband’s brother, who is still at large, and he brought a toy revolver from South Africa which they used in the commission of the crime.

Azellia Madzorera (24) an accountant at Savanna Tobacco and her husband Craig Shamu (27) were arraigned before Bulawayo magistrate Miss Adelaide Mbeure yesterday.

She remanded Shamu in custody and his wife to September 28 on $50 bail.

The court heard how Shamu’s brother, Edwin Marufu, took $12 000 of the loot to Harare where he stashed it before proceeding to South Africa.

Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo for the State told the court that the trio hatched a plan to fake a robbery in August.

“Accused person arrived at work on September 12 and she sorted money for banking. In the afternoon she called her husband who was waiting in the city centre telling him the money was ready. He took a taxi to Famona where his wife’s company is,” he said.

“Shamu took $20 675 from the safe, tied his wife’s hands and legs and covered her mouth with industrial tape. He left the toy gun on top of the safe and went away. He took the cellphone that his wife had used to call him and destroyed it to conceal evidence.”

Mr Dlodlo said Shamu took $6 000 of the loot and gave the rest to Marufu who took the money to Harare where it was recovered during investigations.

He said a total of $18 500 was recovered after the arrest of the couple.

Madzorera was facing two charges; deliberately supplying false information to the police and theft.

She pleaded guilty to both counts.

“Your Worship I admit to both charges but my brother forced me to be part of this plan. I’m so sorry for betraying my boss’ trust.

“He entrusted me with his money but I stole it from him. I also have a five-month-old baby that I’ve been breastfeeding from the cells since my arrest on Tuesday.

Please grant me a bail so that I can take my baby home,” said Madzorera in-between sobs.

Shamu also pleaded guilty to theft.

“Your Worship I’m sorry for my actions. Ever since the commission of this offence, I haven’t been able to eat. I’ve been feeling guilty and ashamed all this week. I almost called my wife’s boss to apologise but I was too embarrassed,” said Shamu.

He told the court that just a few days before the commission of the offence, he called Marufu telling him that he wanted out of the deal.

“Somehow he managed to convince me to go through with the plan. I can’t really say I was forced into it, but Marufu said he would go through with the plan either way so I ended up helping him,” Shamu said.

Miss Mbeure sentenced Madzorera to four months in jail for supplying false information to the police.

“One month will be suspended on condition of good behaviour for three years. You are not to commit any offence involving lying to the police.

Three months will be suspended on condition that you perform 105 hours of community service at Hillside Police Station,” she said.

“Considering that you are saying you were forced to commit the offence, this court will alter your plea from guilty to not guilty.

“Your husband has been convicted but his sentence will be withheld until the end of your theft trial. It’s impossible to pass a sentence before hearing how he used force to make you commit the offence.” The Chronicle