BY KENNETH NYANGANI
THE matter in which four panners are facing charges of robbing diamond ore from Chiadzwa in connivance with rogue members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company took off to a false start on Thursday after the investigation officer failed to attend the quartet’s bail application at the Mutare High Court circuit.
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), who are facing 10 counts of robbery, wanted to apply for bail before High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera.
Farai Matinhure, of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners, confirmed the new development to NewsDay Weekender yesterday.
The four accused reportedly got away with an undisclosed amount of diamond ore.
“The matter was postponed to April 25 as the investigation officer was not available. He wanted to testify in court as to why he is opposing the bail. They had said the matter should be heard on April 18, but we found out that it will be Easter,” Matinhure said
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 in complete ZNA uniforms and armed with AK-47 assault rifles, and were in the company of about 30 illegal panners.
The accused persons cocked their AK-47 rifles and ordered the ZCDC security details to lie down.
The accused persons then used the guards’ shoe laces to tie their hands.
They allegedly entered into the diamond fields and loaded diamond ore into their sacks and vanished.
A report was made at Marange Police Station.
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 suspected panners, six suspected ZNA
members and four suspected members of the ZRP who were armed with AK-47 assault rifles.
Mukwada and Zivanai allegedly grabbed Mucheche 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, in the company of about 15 suspected soldiers and 40 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 the diamond ore.
The court heard that they used the same modus operandi on several occasions.
However, their luck ran out on April 4 this year when Mukwada and Marungamise drove to the ZCDC mining concession for yet another raid.
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 illegal panners to join in the heist.
The duo reportedly sold out their accomplices.