By Mashudu Netsianda
EIGHT armed robbers, among them two police officers allegedly raided a Chinese mining company in Zvishavane and went away with an Isuzu pick up, 48 grammes of gold, US$8 820, $6 800 bond notes and 2 155 Chinese yuan.
The two police officers, Moses Karumbidza (30) and Isaac Kawundura (33) both based in Mberengwa and attached to the ZRP Support Unit, together with Thulani Nkala (38), Taurai Matarirano (27), Tady Magama (25), Learnmore Makore (27), Wellington Moyo (34), Hardlife Mazheke (28) all from Zvishavane, armed themselves with three rifles and four pistols and went to Camlark Mine where they robbed the owners of their valuables, gold and cash.
The gang allegedly fired shots in the air and ordered everyone to lie down before ransacking the mine premises on December 11 last year.
The eight suspects, who allegedly ganged up with eight others still at large, have approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial.
In papers before the court, the eight men through their lawyers Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners, filed their application at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.
In their bail statements, the applicants argued that the State case was weak hence it would not induce them to abscond if granted bail.
They said they were wrongfully implicated, arguing that there was no evidence linking them to the alleged offence.
“The allegations are spurious and there is no link between the alleged offence and the applicants save for the alleged confessions extracted through use of brutal force and torture.
“The police are taking a vindictive approach against the applicants and they are misleading in their averments that the applicants were armed with firearms, which were never recovered,” argued the applicants’ lawyers.
“The respondent alleges that the applicants committed armed robbery when there is no evidence to that effect. In fact, no weapons or cartridges were recovered after the alleged commission of the crime to suggest that shots were fired on that particular day.”
The State, which was represented by Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza, opposed the application, arguing that the accused persons were likely to abscond if granted bail due to the gravity of the alleged crime.
Mr Jaravaza said the eight men had a propensity to interfere with witnesses and commit further offences if granted bail.
“All the accused persons have previous cases of armed robbery committed in Mashava and Kadoma and again in light of the fact that the firearms used in the commission of the robbery were not recovered it is not in the best interests of justice that the applicants be released for there is a likelihood of them committing similar offences,” he said.
On December 11 last year, the gang allegedly drove to Camlark Investments Mine armed with three rifles and four pistols. It is alleged that the 16-member gang, disguised as police officers, force marched security details at Camlark Mine to the residence of the Chinese owners of the mine.
They used a bolt cutter to destroy a padlock at the gate before accessing the residence. They allegedly fired two shots prompting one of the occupants, Mr Zhang Ren Lon to come out of the house to investigate.
The suspects manhandled Mr Zhang and took him back to his house where they ordered him to show them where he kept the money.
The gang allegedly looted cash amounting to US$8 820, $6 800 bond notes and 2 155 Chinese yuan.
They also broke into one of the mine offices and took a computer hard drive and 48 grams of gold and loaded them into the stolen car and drove off.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the eight men and only the stolen car was recovered. The Chronicle