Investigations into the US$334 000 heist from a cash-in-transit vehicle from Fawcett Security Company that happened on Thursday along the Harare-Bulawayo highway have revealed that it was an inside job, police said yesterday.
In a statement, national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police have since arrested Fawcett Cash-In-Transit guard, Bongani Mpofu (29) and his colleague in the security, Blessing Luwizhi and Josephine Ndlovu who is Luwizhi’s wife.
Their accomplices Sibusiso Ngwenya, Mandla Ncube, Nqobile Moyo, Khumbulani Nyathi, and “King” are on the run and wanted by the police.According to initial reports after the guards had filed a complaint with the police, the “robbers” allegedly posed as police officers and mounted a roadblock just after Connemara between Gweru and Kwekwe, and proceeded to stop the cash-in-transit vehicle which was on its way from Bulawayo heading for Harare.
It was said in the initial report that after stopping the vehicle one of the robbers armed with an AK-47 rifle introduced himself as a police sergeant before ordering the driver to disembark.Two other robbers who were armed with pistols got into the vehicle and diverted it into a gravel road before stopping.
Three more robbers armed with AK-47 rifles emerged and disarmed the Fawcett team members of their two service pistols, tied their hands and covered their faces with cloth.They then forcefully opened the back of the car and took US$334 290 cash before disappearing.
However, Asst Comm Nyathi said investigations have revealed that Mpofu was in fact the mastermind, conniving with his colleague Luwizhi, fabricating the “fake cops” story to throw off investigators and hiring the “armed robbers” who made off with the loot.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to clarify information on the alleged armed robbery case involving a cash-in-transit vehicle from Fawcett Security Company on 25 November 2021 at the 243km peg along Harare-Bulawayo Road, near Connemara, where US$334 290 was stolen.
“Police have now arrested Fawcett Security guard, Bongani Mpofu, Blessing Luwizhi and Josephine Ndlovu in connection with this case which has turned out to be a pure theft episode. It is now a fact that the guards were lying that they had been approached by two police officers and four civilians who were armed and driving an unidentified vehicle,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said investigations carried out including a physical examination of the supposed roadblock was in fact the site of a broken-down truck at the time in question.
He said the Fawcett vehicle was seen by two witnesses driving past Connemara before stopping at a shopping centre for as yet unknown reasons which are being investigated.
“Two other witnesses saw the security vehicle passing through Connemara and stopping at a shopping centre for unknown reasons which are now subject to investigations. This clearly indicates an element of inside job and dishonesty on the part of the security guards,” he said.
Information availed by the police alleged that the criminals were picked up in Bulawayo by the guards in their company vehicle disguising the pick-up as “pirating”.
Two other women going to Gweru also got into the vehicle. All the passengers including the criminals dropped off in Gweru while the drivers went to their Gweru depot to pick up US$11 000.
After the guards were done at their Gweru depot, they again picked up their accomplices and they drove towards Kwekwe where upon arrival at the 243km peg near Zvakanaka Shops between Connemara Open Prison and Hunters Road Shopping Centre, the gang proceeded with their plan and executed the false robbery scene and circumstances.
After removing the boxes of money which had been opened using a bolt cutter from the Fawcett vehicle, the gang loaded them and the two company pistols into the criminals’ Honda Fit which had been following closely from Bulawayo.
It is alleged that one of the criminals, Mandla Ncube delivered US$18 000 to Luwizhi’s wife, Josephine as part of his share of the loot. The US$18 000 has since been recovered by detectives.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is therefore appealing for information which may lead to the arrest of the outstanding suspects Sibusiso Ngwenya, Mandla Ncube, Nqobile Moyo, Khumbulani Nyathi, and ‘King’,” said the police spokesperson.
At the time of going to print, this publication was yet to establish the fate of the outstanding US$316 290.