Crime & Courts Zimbabwe

US$2,7m heist suspect killed in shoot-out, three still on the run

Asst Comm Nyathi

Herald Reporters

A suspect in the US$2,7 million ZB Bank cash-in-transit heist died in Zaka on Thursday in a shoot-out with detectives, while three others appeared in court yesterday.

So far, police have arrested 11 suspects in the staged robbery and have recovered US$690 000.

Three more suspects are still being sought, including the alleged mastermind.

Andew Chigara was one of the suspects on the run, but died at Ndanga District Hospital on Thursday evening from gunshot wounds sustained in the shoot-out at Ndanga Business Centre while he was resisting arrest.

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The US$2,7m stolen in what is now seen as a staged robbery was meant for ZB branches in Kadoma, Chinhoyi, Gweru, Zvishavane,Gwanda and Bulawayo.

So far, police have arrested 11 suspects out of the 15 who are wanted for questioning in connection with the case and Chigara’s death means there are just three more suspects still at large.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said detectives tracked Chigara to Ndanga Business Centre in Zaka on Thursday.

“Upon seeing the detectives at the business centre, the suspect tried to run away resulting in a shoot-out with police. Chigara sustained serious injuries and was taken to Ndanga Hospital where he passed on.”

The latest batch of three of the suspects brought to court were holding over US$133 000 between them plus two cars suspected to have been bought with the loot.

Yesterday, the Harare Magistrates’ Court heard that US$77 800 and a Subaru Forester were recovered from Tozivepi Chirara after police took him for indications during their investigations.

Police also recovered a Toyota Passo from Charles Chirara, who was stationed at 5.3 Infantry Battalion at Battlefields near Kwekwe and US$55 000. A pistol stolen during the robbery was recovered from Terrence Matimba, who was stationed at Parachute Regiment at Inkomo Barracks in Nyabira.

The three appeared before magistrate Mrs Judith Taruvinga, who remanded them in custody to February 17 and told them only the High Court could hear a bail application.

Dennis Madondo, who was arrested in connection of the robbery, remains in police custody after they were allowed to detain him further to pursue their investigations.

Shadreck Njowa, a ZB Bank employee who is suspected to be the mastermind of the heist, is still at large.

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On Thursday Gerald Rutizirira (35), Kelvin Musakwa (25), Tendai Zuze (35), Neverson Mwamuka (35), Trymore Chapfika (36) appeared in court in connection with the robbery.

According to the State led by Mrs Linda Gadzikwa, US$96 100 was recovered from Rutizirira, who had also bought a Toyota Hiace. A Toyota Hilux double-cab, which was used in the robbery, was recovered from Rutizirira while it was being painted white from its original red colour.

Mrs Gadzikwa also had it that US$48 000 was recovered from Musakwa, who is brother to Fanuel Musakwa, who was transporting the money from ZB Bank in Harare and has been arrested too along with Nomatter Jonga and Mathew Simango, who were all in charge of the truck and the money and are accused of helping stage the fake robbery.

Zuze was allegedly found in possession of US$35 082 and a Toyota Quantum he bought from the proceeds while Mwamuka led to the recovery of US$74 844 after buying himself a Honda Fit.

Mwamuka also led to the recovery of a Lexus that was used during the said robbery. Chapfika was found with US$38 900, according to the State.

Rutizirira, Musakwa, Zuze Mwamuka and Chapfika were also remanded in custody to February 17.

HERALD