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Family of US$2,7m heist mastermind arrested

by Staff reporter
21 Oct 2022 at 06:03hrs | Views
The family of Shadreck Njowa, the mastermind behind the ZB Bank US$2,7 million and $43 000 heist which occurred in January last year at Gwebi River Bridge along the Harare-Chirundu Road has been arrested in Harare.

Njowa who had been on the run for nearly two years was arrested on Wednesday at a house in Highfield where he has been hiding and will appear in court today.

However, in a new twist of events, police have also arrested Njowa's wife and his three sons for harbouring a criminal.

Sources close to the investigations said these four had been concealing, providing shelter and food to Njowa, knowing that he was on wanted list.

Investigations revealed that Njowa was only staying indoors at the hideout in Highfield before he was busted.

The four family members will appear in court soon as they were yesterday still assisting police with investigations.

Njowa's arrest came after a team of detectives from the CID Homicide in Harare received information that Njowa was hiding at a house in Highfield.

A raid was carried out leading to his arrest.

Recently, the local financial institution offered a US$5 000 reward for leads which might result in the arrest of Njowa and his two other accomplices who were believed to have been part of the gang that robbed the bank.

The other two are Patson Matengambiri and Nyasha Chitera.

The trio were in the company of 11 other gang members who have since been arrested and the matter is still pending before the courts.

The robbery of the US$2,775 million and $43 000 from a cash-in-transit ZB Bank vehicle was believed to have been an inside job where three security personnel in the vehicle allegedly connived with robbers.

The three security staff, Nomatter Jonga (43), Mathew Simango (66) and Fanuel Musakwa (34) were arrested and have since appeared at the Harare Magistrates' Court.

The State alleges that on January 6, 2021 at around 11.30am, the three were tasked to carry seven boxes containing US$2 775 000.

This cash was to be ferried to ZB branches – Chinhoyi US$75 000, Kadoma US$25 000, Kwekwe and Gweru US$150 000 each, Bulawayo US$200 000, Gwanda US$50 000 and Zvishavane US$100 000.

They were travelling in a Toyota Hilux single cab with a canopy, secured with a tracker and emergency panic button.

The initial allegations given in court were that the three hatched a plan to steal the money and connived with six others.

It is alleged that Jonga, Simango and Musakwa picked three unknown suspects at the Westgate roundabout in Harare and drove to Inkomo tollgate where they collected a box containing $43 090, which was supposed to be deposited at the bank, and then picked up three more men at Inkomo Barracks turn-off as they drove towards Chinhoyi.

Upon reaching the 60km peg, Jonga stopped the vehicle and a fake robbery was staged.

The State alleges that an Isuzu twin-cab immediately arrived at the scene with people who were armed with pistols.

Jonga, Simango and Musakwa surrendered their pistol and rifle before driving their Toyota Hilux for about 900 metres where the gang offloaded the cash boxes into the Isuzu which then drove off.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said on October 19, 2022, Detectives from CID Homicide received information that Njowa (55) who had fled to South Africa after committing the crime was at Willovale Flats in Highfield.

"The detectives made a follow up leading to his arrest. So far the police have arrested Fanuel Musakwa (34), Gerald Rutizirira (36), Kelvin Musakwa (25), Tendai Zuze (35), Neverson Mwamwuka (35), Trymore Chapfika, Tozivepi Chirara (28), Tererence Matimba (28), Dennis Madondo (30) and Tatenda Gadzikwa (39) in connection with the case.

"One of the suspects, Charles Chirara (30), was shot dead while committing another robbery at Joseph Nemaisa's residence in Chadcombe, Harare while on bail," he said.

Four other suspects Fanuel Musakwa, Gerald Rutizirira, Kelvin Musakwa and Terence Matimba are on the run after they were granted bail by the High Court.

"Meanwhile, US$693 026 and $ 1 410, 14 motor vehicles worth US$129 900, three houses valued at US$115 000, all valued at US$937 926 and two firearms used in the commission of the crime have so far been recovered by the police," he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said the Zimbabwe republic Police is appealing for information which may lead to the arrest of the suspects who absconded while on bail. Anyone with information to contact National Complaints on (0242) 703631, WhatsApp on 0712 800 197 or report at any nearest Police Station.

Source - The Herald