By Ivan Zhakata
Suspected armed robber and gang leader Musa Taj Abdul (47), who was granted bail by High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero on Monday along with co-accused Godfrey Mupamhanga (27), Rudolf Tapiwa Kanhanga (29) and Douglas Mutenda (31), will remain in custody as the four are facing fresh charges.
Before they could post bail money yesterday, police brought up fresh charges against the suspects and requested that they remain in custody pending their remand hearing on the new charges and further investigations.
In a brief statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said: “As far as we are concerned, Musa Taj Abdul is still under remand and if there are any changes, we wait to be advised by the relevant Judiciary department.”
The four were arrested in Beitbridge in August with five others: Charles Lundu (47), Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa (27), Innocent Jairosi (32), Prince Makodza (31) and Liberty Mupamhanga (29).
Some had been sought for more than 20 years.
Adbul, Mupamhanga and Mutenda, who have been in custody for about four months, were granted $5 000 bail each by Justice Chikowero, while Kanhanga was released on $2 000 bail.
As part of their bail conditions, they were ordered to reside at their given addresses and report to the police every Friday between 6am and 6pm until the matter has been finalised.
When the alleged robbers appeared before the Harare Magistrates’ Courts in August on several charges of armed robbery, they were escorted by more than 10 police officers from the CID Homicide Unit.
They were not asked to plead when they appeared before Mr Richard Ramaboa who remanded them in custody and were advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
The court heard that on July 24 the gang pounced on 40 Longford Street in Queensdale, Harare, arriving in separate vehicles.
They removed precast wall panels to gain entry and then, masked and armed with a shotgun and a pistol, forced open the lounge door with an iron bar and allegedly confronted the complainant’s brother-in-law who was seated in the lounge.
He shouted for help and fled towards the kitchen intending to escape through the back door where he was confronted by another robber who was standing outside the house.
They manhandled him and tied his hands from behind with shoelaces. It is alleged that the gang went on to confront the complainant who had locked himself in the bedroom from the inside together with his wife and children.
The gang forced open the door with an iron bar and confronted the family before
ordering the couple to lie down on the floor while covering the wife with a blanket. They assaulted the complainant demanding cash and valuables while ransacking the room.
They allegedly stole US$1 473 from the wife’s handbag and 5 cellphones, handbags, eye glasses, power banks, face masks and valuables. The total value of the stolen goods was US$7 516.
In the second robbery, it is alleged that on the following day, July 25, the gang in the company of their nine co-accused persons still at large, armed themselves with a shotgun, pistol, hammer and iron bars and went to the Trauma Centre at 1 Borrowdale Lane.
After smashing down doors and stealing phones and laptops, they eventually tried and failed to open the safe.
Meanwhile the owner and his wife had been summoned and went with security guards to rescue their staff. The gang then fled but the owner gave chase and rammed twice into the back of the accused persons’ car, which plunged into a ditch at corner Borrrowdale and Beach Roads before hitting a precast wall.
The accused in the rammed car then fled on foot with their firearms while the others fled in another getaway car. A report was made at ZRP Borrowdale.
The total value of items stolen is US$3 465 and nothing was recovered. The Herald