Thursday 14 December 2017


Seven suspected armed robbers, among them police officers, who were masquerading as soldiers, pounced on businessman Jayesh Shah and robbed him of over $90 000 after accusing him of planning to assassinate President Emmerson Mnangagwa and sponsoring the G40 faction in Zanu PF.

One of the suspects, Fortune Sibanda (31), a former police officer, appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded him in custody to December 28 and advised him to apply for bail at the High Court.

Sibanda is on bail pending appeal over another heist for which he was sentenced to four years after robbing another businessman of $56 000 early this year at a fake roadblock.

Shah is the owner of Gift Investments, a company which imports buses for Zimbabwe United Passengers Company.

It is the State’s case that on November 28 this year, Sibanda, in the company of Elvis Machinga, Vengai Shoko, Gift Chimuka, one Banga, Matuke, Maruke and others, whose names are not yet known and are still at large, drove to the complainant’s offices in Avondale West.

They confronted a security guard purporting to be military police. The suspects produced pistols and ordered the security guard to surrender the gate keys.

It is alleged they unlocked the gate and while inside, they lied that they were on a State-sanctioned operation. The suspects later went away after they failed to locate the complainant.

On the following day at around 9am, the suspects returned to the complainant’s premises and forcibly entered his office.
Inside, they accused Shah of dealing with former government ministers Ignatius Chombo and Saviour Kasukuwere and sponsoring the G40 faction in a conspiracy to assassinate Mnangagwa.

The gang allegedly ransacked Shah’s office and stole $15 000, 410 Singapore dollars, 3 050 Dubai dhiram, 16 000 Thai bhat and 4 000 Hong Kong dollars.
They dragged Shah and his secretary, Louise Smith into his Hyundai Sonata vehicle and drove to Rainbow Towers Hotel.

The suspects threatened Shah with detention at Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks and with severe assault. They searched him and stole $6 000 from his wallet.

The court heard they forced him to disclose where he kept more money and the complainant succumbed to threats and he told them it was at his Gift Investment Company premises in Southerton.

The suspects ordered the complainant to summon his wife with keys to that premises and she arrived.

They drove off to the premises and the suspects stole $70 000 cash from the safe.

They then went to the complainant’s place of residence and ransacked the house, but could not get anything.

The suspects later gave the complainant $4 500 cash and ordered him to flee the country and not return and they went away with the loot.

Meanwhile, a Harare taxi driver, Gift Chamuka (38), who was arrested as an alleged accomplice of the alleged bogus soldiers, is applying for bail at the High Court.

In his bail application, Chamuka denies involvement in the robbery, saying that he was only hired as a driver by the other accused persons.

“He (Chamuka) will state that as confirmed by the State outline, he is a taxi driver. He will further state that on the day of the alleged commission of the offence on November 28, 2017, he parked his vehicle in Harare central business district at corner Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Angwa Street waiting for customers. At around 9am, he was approached by some three people as potential customers and they told him they wanted to hire a taxi to a place in Avondale,” he said in his application. Newsday


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