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Appeal against US$2,7m heist ring leader’s bail hits snag

The prosecution’s appeal against the High Court decision to grant bail to Tatenda Gadzikwa, the ring leader of the recent US$2,7 million heist hit a snag after the Supreme Court refused to accept the appeal.

Detectives escort the US$2,7 million Harare-Chirundu road robbery suspects into Harare Magistrates’ Court for their initial hearing yesterday. — Picture: Lee Maidza.
Detectives escort the US$2,7 million Harare-Chirundu road robbery suspects into Harare Magistrates’ Court for their initial hearing. — Picture: Lee Maidza.

On Friday last week, Gadzikwa successfully applied for bail before Justice Webster Chinamora.

He was granted $50 000 coupled with stringent conditions. The State had opposed bail.

Aggrieved by the court’s decision, the prosecution yesterday approached the Supreme Court intending to file its appeal but hit a snag after its papers were rejected.

Appeals are not covered under the practice directive issued by Chief Justice Malaba guiding courts operations during the national lockdown period, which has since been extended by another two weeks.

Under the Chief Justice’s practice directive issued yesterday, registries will only accept initial remands, urgent processes and applications plus bail applications.

The filing of new cases, processes, documents, pleadings and papers remain suspended for the period up to March 1.

Gadzikwa (39) is facing armed robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm charges.

His co-accused Gerald Rutizirira 35, Kelvin Musakwa 25, Tendai Zuze 35, Neverson Mwamuka 35 and Trymore Chapfika, Fanuel Masakwa and Shadreck Njowa were also placed on remand on the same matter.

The State charges that on January 6, Gadzikwa and his alleged accomplices planned to rob the bank of cash that was in transit to be distributed to its branches across the country.

It is alleged that they conspired with several others and arranged three getaway vehicles and planned that three would be picked up while being accomplices to the heist.

Masakwa was in the ZB Bank cash-in-transit vehicle, a white Toyota Hilux with a canopy, and would frequently contact his accomplices on their way from Harare to Chinhoyi. Along the way they collected a box containing $43 090, which was supposed to be deposited at the bank and as they drove towards Chinhoyi, the driver picked up three ‘passengers’ on Masakwa’s instructions.

It is reported that when they reached the 60km peg, one of the accomplices pretended that he had reached his destination and the driver stopped the car to let him disembark, that was when the passengers produced a gun and threatened to shoot the crew.

Other accomplices arrived immediately driving an Isuzu twin-cab belonging to Rutizirira, a Toyota Passo and a Toyota Lexus. They were armed with pistols and fired two shots in the air then tied up the crew members before speeding away with seven boxes of the money leaving them at the scene.

The State alleges that Rutizirira led to the discovery of US$96 100 which remained from his share as well as a Toyota Hilux he bought soon after the offence and he also led the police to the red getaway car which had been repainted.

Musakwa reportedly led to the recovery of US$48 000, which he obtained as Musakwa’s proceeds of the crime while Zuze led to the discovery of US$35 082, which he remained with after buying a Toyota Baby Quantum.

Mwamuka led to the recovery of US$74 884, which he remained from his share and a Honda Fit he had bought with some of his money and the Lexus used in the robbery while Chapfika led to the recovery of US$38 900.

The State alleges that Gadzikwa led to the recovery of US$63 000 he had received as proceeds from the commission of the offence and a Toyota Hulux he had bought for US$18 000.

He was arrested after his accomplices implicated him. The Herald