Wednesday, 31 July 2019

SIX ARMED ROBBERS BREAK INTO FIRM'S PREMISES, FAIL TO OPEN SAFE


SIX armed robbers raided a steel-making company in Bulawayo’s Belmont industrial area where they assaulted a security guard before tying his hands and legs and robbing him of his cellphone at gunpoint.

The robbers went on to break into the company’s offices after cutting a zinc roofing sheet and ceiling board to gain entry.

They, however, left the premises empty handed after failing to access the safe. The incident occurred last month at Africa Steel in Belmont, but one of the suspects, Lawrence Sibanda (32), was arrested two weeks ago.

This emerged when Sibanda of Pumula South approached the High Court seeking bail. Sibanda, through his lawyers Dube and Associates, has filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.

In his bail statement, Sibanda is denying the charge, arguing that he acquired the stolen cellphone from one Blessing Tshili after using it to bet. He said there were no compelling reasons warranting his continued detention.

“I am a proper candidate for bail and from the statement of the investigating officer there are no compelling reasons as to why I should not be granted bail. I also deny the charges preferred against me as I was not at the scene of the incident,” argued Sibanda. 

He also dismissed the State’s assertion that if released on bail he would either abscond or interfere with its witnesses.

“I submit that being granted bail with stipulated conditions should be sufficient to assuage the State’s fears. Wherefore I pray that I be admitted to bail pending trial on condition that I deposit RTGS$100 bail with the clerk of court and continue residing at my given address in Pumula South, Bulawayo until the matter is finalised,” said Sibanda.

The State, which was represented by Mr Trust Muduma, opposed the application, saying Sibanda was not a proper candidate for bail.

He said the State has a strong prima facie case against Sibanda such that if granted he was likely to abscond due to the gravity of the offence.

“The accused person is alleged to have committed the robbery with his accomplices who are still at large. He was apprehended while in possession of a cellphone which was stolen from the scene of the crime and due to the strong prima facie case which has been raised against him, he is likely to abscond if released on bail,” said Mr Muduma.

According to State papers, it was stated that on June 15 this year, Sibanda allegedly ganged up with five others who are still at large and they went to Africa Steel Company in Belmont and found a security guard manning the premises. 

Sibanda and his accomplices were armed with a firearm, golf sticks and metal rods. They allegedly manhandled the security guard and assaulted him after which they tied both his hands and legs before robbing him of a Samsung cellphone at gunpoint. Chronicle

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