The eight suspected armed robbers, who were arrested in a major raid in Beitbridge recently on Thursday told the court that they had not been in touch with their lawyers ever since they were sent to Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
Mussa Taj Abdul (47), Charles Lundu (47), Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi (29), Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa (27), Innocent Jairosi (32), Prince Makodza (31), Liberty Mupamhanga (29) and Godfrey Mupamhanga (27) arrived at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts accompanied by more than 10 police officers from the CID Homicide Unit on seven charges of armed robbery, although further similar charges are likely to be preferred later.
The leader of the gang Mussa Taj Abdul said they were not happy with the way they were being treated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
“We have not seen or contacted our lawyers ever since we were sent to Chikururubi Maximum Prison and we want the court to assist us so that we give our lawyers instructions,” he said.
Harare magistrate Mrs Babra Mateko deferred the matter to September 23.
The court heard that on July 24, the gang and others who are still at large, went to 40 Longford Street in Queensdale, Harare.
They removed some panels from the precast wall and entered they yard. They then forced open the lounge door with an iron bar and allegedly confronted the house owner’s brother-in-law who was seated in the lounge.
He shouted for help and fled towards the kitchen intending to escape through the back door but was caught by another robber, who was standing outside the house.
They manhandled him and tied his hands behind his back with shoelaces. It is alleged that the gang went to the main bedroom where the complainant was hiding with his wife and children.
They forced open the door with an iron bar and ordered the couple and their children to lie down on the floor and covered the wife with a blanket. They assaulted the complainant demanding cash and valuables while ransacking the room.
They allegedly stole US$1 473 from the wife’s handbag and 5 cellphones, handbags, eye glasses, power banks, face masks and valuables. The total value of the stolen goods was US$7 516.
On July 25, the accused persons in the company of their nine co-accused persons still at large, went to the Trauma Centre at 1 Borrowdale Lane armed with a shotgun, pistol, hammer and iron bars.
Upon arrival, they ordered security guards Simbai Pawandiwa and Jerifanos Fana, who were manning the entrance, to lie down but the guards ran towards the premises shouting for help.
The accused ran after them, firing shots. Pawandiwa hid in a toilet while Fana ran into another toilet situated near the administration block.
The gang broke the door of the toilet in which Fana had hidden, manhandled him, hit him with a hammer on the head and demanded to know where the safe was.
The court heard that the gang also assaulted another security guard who was at the emergency room and the receptionist before they ramsacked the reception area and took a ZTE cellphone from the security guards.
The gang also allegedly broke down the door to the office of Cheril Masvosva and threatened her before stealing her cellphone.
The gang then confronted Wilbert Tokoda, who was in the security room, and threatened to shoot him with the shotgun and ordered him to lie down.
They tied his hands behind with cable tires and force-marched him into the administration block and pried open the door with an iron bar.
They allegedly proceeded to the human resources and accounts office where they stole two laptops and took a safe from the office to the main entrance of the administration block offices where they tried to open it but failed.
The gang forced open the boardroom door and then confronted five other complainants who were sleeping. They threatened to shoot them before stealing their cellphones.
Pawandiwa the security guard called the owner’s wife and alerted her of the robbery. The owner and his wife went to the hospital with their security guards to rescue their workers and as they arrived the gang fled.
The complainant gave chase and rammed twice into the back of the accused persons’ car, which plunged into a side-road ditch at corner Borrowdale and Beach Roads.
The complainant then lost control of his vehicle and hit a precast wall. The accused in the rammed car then fled on foot with their firearms while the other getaway car escaped. A report was then made at ZRP Borrowdale.
The total value of items stolen is US$3 465 and nothing was recovered.