BY REX MPHISA
High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero yesterday granted bail to armed robbery suspect Musa Taj Abdul (47) and his two co-accused, Godfrey Mupamhanga (27) and Rudolf Tapiwa Kanhanga (29), but this has not gone well with the country’s citizens who allege miscarriage of justice.
Although the merits upon which Chikowero made a ruling had not been seen at the time of going to print, Zimbabweans have roundly criticised the granting of bail considering that Abdul had been on the police wanted list for about 20 years.
Abdul is believed to be dangerous and has the propensity of committing more crimes. Mupamhanga and Kanhanga were nabbed in Beitbridge in August together with five others Charles Lundu (47), Tapiwa Mangoma, alias Tapa (27), Innocent Jairosi (32), Prince Makodza (31), Liberty Mupamhanga (29).
Two other suspects escaped from the scene during a shootout with police details and have not been accounted for since.
Adbul and Mupamhanga were granted $5 000 bail each, while Kanhanga was released on $2 000 bail.
The three, as part of their bail conditions, were ordered to reside at their given addresses and report to the police every Friday between 6am and 6pm until the matter is finalised.
“This is where you find that efforts of the police have been ridiculed,” said a Zimbabwean journalist based in the United Kingdom.
“It took so many years for the police and public to account for Abdul and circumstances surrounding how they were arrested should have been taken into serious consideration.”
He added: “I support those who shoot to kill criminals. Sure for 20 years and they are just given a bail so simple like this. I am sure even our esteemed officers are disheartened.
“I feel pity for the poor police officers who, with little or no resources, did a sterling job which the learned judge has reduced to naught. Does the learned judge know the pain of being robbed?”
The news of granting of bail was met with surprise and it went viral on social media platforms. Abdul and his gang were spotted in Beitbridge by one of their victims who quickly informed his investigating officer in Harare and in turn police raised their protocols.
Information gathered after their arrest was that, they planned a hit on a Beitbridge businesswoman.
“What guarantees that they won’t attempt hitting that same person or anyone else? What we are saying is this, the man has been on the run for 20 years and is that not reason enough for any reasonable court to throw out any bail application? Have they been able to trace all allegations in the region that point at the accused people?” asked Tinashe Moyo of Beitbridge.
“If Abdul is a good candidate for bail; why did he not hand himself over to the police? Maybe the prosecutors did not present their case well, but why was Abdul found among robbery suspects always,” Moyo queried.
Abdul sometime last year escaped from a shootout with police along Enterprise Road in Harare where a number of suspects were gunned down.
He is reported to have participated in a number of high-profile hit jobs in South Africa and Botswana.
“Time should have been given for SA police to bring their cases for possible extradition. A lot of people will have sleepless nights,” Moyo said.
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