BY KENNETH NYANGANI
FOUR suspected armed robbers, who since 2017 allegedly connived with members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Republic Police to raid the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company reserves in Chiadzwa, appeared at Mutare Magistrate’s Courts on Saturday facing 10 counts of armed robbery.
Foster Mukwada (44), from Mhandu village under Chief Marange; Amato Fanuel Zivanai (34), of Makwikwi village in Shurugwi; Munyaradzi Charakupa (43), of Kadoma; and Brian Marungamise (33), of Mutare appeared before magistrate Nyasha Kuture.
The accused persons, who reportedly got away with an undisclosed amount of diamond ore, were remanded in custody to April 17 for trial.
Prosecutor Brighton Shamuyarira told the court that on November 29, 2017, just after midnight, the accused persons entered the ZCDC premises together with six suspected soldiers, who were putting on complete ZNA uniforms and armed with AK-47 assault rifles, and about 30 illegal panners.
The accused persons cocked their AK-47 rifles and ordered the ZCDC security details to lie down and they complied.
The accused persons then used the complainant’s shoe laces to tie their hands. The suspected robbers entered into the diamond fields and loaded diamond ore into their sacks and vanished.
A report was made at Marange Police Station.
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In the second count, on March 24, 2018, at around 11:45pm, Misheck Mucheche was manning portal 3 point when he was approached by about 100 panners, six suspected ZNA members and four suspected members of ZRP armed with AK-47 rifles.
Mukwada and Zivanai grabbed the complainant and tied his hands from behind.
They entered the diamonds fields and loaded their sacks with diamond ore and went away.
On count three, some of the accused persons with about 15 suspected soldiers and 40 illegal panners pounced on dog handlers at ZCDC’s portal A area.
The two dog handlers guarding the fields were ordered to hold their dogs at gunpoint as the suspected robbers looted diamond ore.
The court heard that they used the same modus operandi on several occasions.
However, their luck run out on April 4, 2019, when Mukwada and Marungamise hatched a plan to rob ZCDC of diamond ore again. Pursuant to the plan, they proceeded to ZCDC mining concession with their motor vehicles.
Police, who were on patrol, received a tip-off from a reliable source and swiftly reacted, leading to their arrest.
The suspects reportedly had US$1 320 which was meant to mobilise the illegal panners.
The duo also reportedly sold out their accomplices.