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New twist to Penhalonga underground gold ore robbery saga

By Bernard Chiketo

A Penhalonga underground gold ore heist victim whose operations were suspended over the robbery after the Ministry of Mines linked it to a boundary dispute has filed more charges against his rival miner for continuing to work despite the suspension.

A lorry carries gold ore from the pit at Gaika Mine to a mill for processing
File picture of a lorry carrying gold ore from a pit at Gaika Mine to a mill for processing

Tawanda Manyangadze whose syndicate owns Monarch 11B (G618) Mine which was raided by John Chinonzwa’s sons and employees, filed a fresh case against him at Penhalonga police on Friday after intercepting gold ore from his suspended mine.

Their operations were suspended in May following the armed robbery.

It was recorded under Report received book (RRB) number 4465611.

Manyangadze is himself challenging the suspension at the high court, arguing that the decision to suspend him was unilateral and he was not afforded any hearing as provided for in the Mines and Minerals Act.

Manyangadze cited the Ministry of Mines, Manicaland provincial mining director and Chinonzwa with whom he has for years been squabbling over boundaries.

The armed raid of his underground mining operations – involving Chinonzwa’s two sons, two known bouncers and five employees, happened on May 15 with a gun being fired within the tunnels.

The Ministry of Mines made the decision to suspend the operations of the two neighbouring mines on May 28 citing an underground discharge of a firearm.

Arrests were only made almost a month later on June 10 amidst allegations of corruption and they only appeared for initial remand before a magistrate on June 11.

Innocent Chinonzwa, 39, Lovemore Chinonzwa, 37, Maxwell Masamvu, 39, Bright Mabonore, 40, John Mbeu, 42, Wiskes Kovhiwa, 32, Marlon Maringa, 28, Wellington Moyo, 35, and Terrence Mukodza, 34, were later freed on $1000 bail each on June 16 at the high court with the trial still running before a Mutare magistrate.

Manyangadze employs 25 miners at the mine and was hoping to be allowed to resume operations as the decision is prejudicing him despite his being a victim of a violent crime.

It is the state’s case that nine men raided Monarch 11B Mine’s underground tunnel on May 15 at around 1900 hours where its employees George Mushati, Shadreck Nyabeze and Thomas Maara were working.

One of the men was armed with a loaded CZ VZOR pistol serial number 183654.

The gang threatened to kill the three miners unless they surrendered their gold ore.

Moyo then fired the gun after the trio tried to resist the robbers before grabbing 10 25kg bags of gold ore, about three of which were never recovered.

A police report was made on May 16 at around 0330 hours, and a spent cartridge was recovered from the crime scene.

Police were informed that it had been one of the suspects’ gun that was used in the robbery on May 20.

They then sent it to the Criminal Investigation Department Forensic Unit for ballistic tests which proved the claim. Nehanda Radio

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