The trial of two alleged Kuwadzana robbers who severely bashed their victim for throwing away $10 000 out of their moving vehicle took another twist yesterday after the “muggers” pleaded not guilty to the robbery charge.
Initially when the accused Letwin Maliselo (31) and Michael Hovhiyo Nyakwima (26) appeared in court last week they pleaded guilty to the charge. But after hiring lawyers, they contested the amount they had stolen from one of the complainants, an illegal foreign currency dealer.
But yesterday, the pair completely denied the charge and accused the police officers of having forced them to admit the offence after severe torture.
In their confirmed warned and cautioned statements, which they contested in court, it was suggested they had admitted to robbing Richard Musa and Tariro Rusike.
They however told regional magistrate Estere Chivasa that when the statements were confirmed in court, some police officers were present and as a result they were induced to confess.
Maliselo and Nyakwima are now represented by Ringisai Mapondera and Kuziwa Nyamwanza respectively. Their trial continues today.
Prosecutor Michael Reza presented that at around 8pm on May 2 in Kuwadzana 3, Maliselo and Nyakwima in the company of their accomplices masqueraded as police officers when they kidnapped Musa.
Maliselo, who is also an illegal foreign currency dealer at Roadport, is said to have established that Musa had a large sum of money and relayed the information to Nyakwima and his colleagues.
They then drove an unmarked BMW sedan, pounced on Musa and force-marched him into their getaway vehicle.
Musa reportedly realised he was about to be robbed and took his cash from his jacket pocket before throwing it out of the moving car. The gang stopped the vehicle, picked up the cash and took turns to severely assault Musa accusing him of throwing away hard-earned money.
They then drove Musa to Warren Park D where they pushed him out of the moving vehicle before driving away.
Eight days later, using the same modus operandi, they pounced on Tariro Rusike, another illegal foreign currency dealer from Cold Comfort, and robbed him of R50 000 and $1 000.
Their luck ran out when police, acting on information, arrested Maliselo and Nyakwima last week.