Monday 13 April 2020


THE High Court has dismissed an application for bail pending trial by one of the eight armed robbers who allegedly raided a Chinese-owned mine and several houses in Bulawayo, robbing their victims of more than US$20 000.

Oliver Mhlanga of Hillcrest allegedly ganged up with MacDonald Tinashe Majaya (35) of Gwabalanda suburb, Blessing Luzhi (36) of Mpopoma suburb, Simbarashe Lenox Kamwendo, who is currently on remand in prison and five others who are still at large to raid Sqneed Chrome Zimbabwe Company in Lalapanzi.

They allegedly force-marched the workers to the company’s administration offices at gunpoint where they ordered them to lie on their stomachs before tying their hands using shoelaces and electrical cables.

The armed robbers allegedly attacked their victims using pistol butts, a shovel and machetes. 

Mhlanga, who is facing four counts of armed robbery, through his lawyers Sengweni Legal Practice, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.

In his bail statement, Mhlanga is denying the charges, arguing there was no evidence linking him to the offences.

“The State only alleges that the applicant made positive indications without stating what indications if any are there and how they link him to the offences. Applicant is suffering because he was found together with his friend MacDonald on the day of the arrest,” said Mhlanga’s lawyers.

Mhlanga said the State case is weak as there was no evidence hence if released on bail there was no likelihood of absconding or interfering with State witnesses. 

“There is no reason to fear that the applicant will interfere with State witnesses as he does not know them. It is therefore humbly submitted that applicant is a proper candidate for bail in that the State has not established by evidence any of the factors provided by the law against the applicant,” he said.

Mhlanga had offered to pay $1 000 bail as well as reporting daily at the Bulawayo Central Police Station’s CID Homicide section as part of the bail conditions.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa dismissed the application, saying there was no guarantee that if released on bail, Mhlanga would not abscond given the gravity of the offences.

“It is ordered that the application for bail pending trial be and hereby dismissed,” ruled the judge.

The State, which was represented by Mr Trust Muduma had opposed the application, arguing that the State had a strong prima facie evidence against Mhlanga who was likely to abscond if released on bail.

According to court papers, it was stated that on February 7 this year between 8PM and 10PM, Mhlanga and his accomplices connived and went to Sqneed Chrome Zimbabwe Company in Lalapanzi.

They ordered the employees to lie down before they tied their hands using electrical cables and shoe laces and assaulted them.

The accused persons assaulted the complainants using pistol butts, booted feet, a shovel and a machete. They searched one of the complainants and took US$60, a national identity card and a Gtel X 7S cellphone. They also took a Samsung and $30.

They searched other employees and took varying amounts of money ranging from US$33 to US$130 as well as 500 kwacha.

Four of the accused persons then proceeded to the company’s administration block while the others remained behind guarding their hostages.

Upon arrival at the administration block, they pulled out pistols and pointed at the company directors. They ordered them to lie down and tied their hands before attacking them with a hammer and fists.

The court heard that the accused persons broke into the directors’ houses after damaging the locks using hammers. They ransacked one of the directors’ houses and stole cellphones, a wallet containing US$590, bank cards and their Chinese identity documents.

They also broke into another house and went away with US$16 100, R1 000, 1 800 Chinese yuan, $7 000, a Huawei cellphone, travelling bag, one pair of sports shoes and fled from the scene, leaving the complainants still tied.

The accused persons were intercepted by police while heading towards their two getaway cars while their accomplices managed to flee in one of the vehicles, a Honda Fit.
Investigations by police revealed that the car belonged to Majaya while a cellphone recovered from the abandoned car belonged to Luzhi.

Further investigations also revealed that the gang was involved in a spate of armed robberies targeting houses in Bulawayo.

In one of the houses in Nkulumane, they raided the property and went away with US$5 237, clothes and two cellphones. Chronicle


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