Released armed robber vanishes
Police have launched a manhunt for suspected armed robber Douglas Mutenda, who was released on bail after prosecutor Mr Douglas Chesa consented to bail on December 8.
Mutenda (31) is facing several counts of armed robbery and was released on $5 000 bail when the State consented on the basis that some of his co-accused were out on bail.
But he failed to turn up last Friday for routine remand and Harare magistrate Mrs Judith Taruvinga issued a warrant for his arrest.
Part of his bail conditions were that he was supposed to reside at house number 24 Sebakwe Road, Glen Norah B, in Harare and that he should report twice a week on Mondays and Fridays at Glen Norah Police Station between 6am and 6pm.
Mutenda, who has since failed to report at the police station, was also ordered not to interfere with State witnesses or evidence until the matter was finalised.
Sources close to the investigation yesterday said police over the weekend visited the home address which he gave, but could not locate him.
Mutenda had also claimed that he was married and had three children that he was staying with at the given address.
Investigations revealed that he provided fake addresses which are 165 Glen Norah B and 265 Glen Norah B, all in Harare.
A team of detectives from Harare Central Police Station has now questioned several people related or linked to Mutenda.
Mutenda was supposed to stand trial for armed robbery charges on February 17 next year with co-accused Prince Makodza, Carrington Marasha, Liberty Mupanhanga, Godfrey Mupamhanga, Spicer Takawira and Musafare Mupanhanga.
On January 21 next year, Mutenda was supposed to be tried at Harare Magistrates’ Court on other armed robbery charges with Eddison Mashamhanda, Spicer Takawira, Prince Makodza, Musafare Mupanhanga, Nevanji Madanhire, Christopher Mashamhanda and Dudzai Chidangwara.
Mutenda was also expected to appear in court on December 30 for routine remand on similar charges with Musa Taj Abdul, Musafare Mupamhanga, Godfrey Mupanhanga, Spicer Takawira, Carrington Marasha, Benjamin Chitunhu and Conwell Kasambarare.
He was initially denied bail when he applied at the High Court on October 20 this year.
The State, led by Mr Chesa opposed the application, arguing that they had a very strong case against him.
Mr Chesa also told the court that Mutenda had led to recoveries of some of the stolen items.
There was also closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showing Mutenda at a crime scene, Mashwede Towers in Glen View, where US$100 000 was stolen earlier this year.
His alleged accomplices also implicated him and there were phone calls linking him to the offence, all of which left the prosecution with a very strong case against him.
High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi dismissed Mutenda’s bail application on grounds that he was likely to abscond and that he was facing a serious offence.
Barely a month after his bail application was dismissed at the High Court, Mutenda engaged a different lawyer and approached the same court, and went before a different judge.
New lawyer Mrs Concilia Maheya made a fresh bail application citing changed circumstances on December 8. In that application, Mutenda argued that his co-accused, Musafare Mupanhanga, Spicer Takawira, Benjamin Chitunhu and Conwell Kasambarare, had been granted bail.
He also argued that he had no pending cases as the State had alleged.
Mr Chesa responded to the fresh bail application on the same day and consented to Mutenda’s release.
“The present application is based on changed circumstances, which the respondent (State) is of the view that they tilt the scales in favour of the applicant,” he said. The Herald