BY KENNETH NYANGANI
High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera has granted bail to four suspected armed robbers accused of robbing diamond ore from Chiadzwa after working with rogue members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
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, were each granted $500 bail.
They will return to court on May 2 for trial.
According to the State, on November 29, 2017, just after midnight, the accused, accompanied by about 30 illegal panners, entered the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) premises together with six suspected soldiers, who were clad in ZNA uniforms and armed with AK-47 assault rifles.
The accused persons cocked their AK-47 rifles and ordered 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 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 were ordered at gunpoint to hold their dogs while the suspected robbers looted 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 ZCDC mining concession for yet another raid.
Police, who were on patrol, received a tip-off 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.