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1 000 robbers sent to prison

by Staff reporter
11 Dec 2022 at 03:54hrs | Views
About 1 000 robbers were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for periods ranging from 6 months to 60 years during the first 10 months of the year, as the clampdown on rising cases of violent crimes intensified.

Zimbabwe has recorded an upsurge in violent crimes, including robbery, in recent years, prompting police to set up a specialised taskforce to deal with rising violent criminal activity.

Police recorded over 19 000 cases of robbery between January 2020 and December 2021, with data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency showing that there were 9 364 cases of robbery (931 armed) in 2020, while 9 515 similar cases (1 120 armed) were recorded the following year.

As part of an inter-agency strategy to suppress robberies, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), on its part, has adopted a policy of vigorously opposing bail applications in all robbery cases before the courts.

Prosecutors have also undergone specialised training this year to enhance their criminal prosecution skills during court proceedings, while the prosecution of all robbery cases is being expedited to ensure trials are not long drawn, a development that could possibly lead to accused persons being granted bail.

In an interview, NPA spokesperson Ms Angeline Munyeriwa said prosecutors have adopted a tough stance towards robbers.

"The prevalence of robbery cases is a cause for concern," she said.

"The NPA is vigorously opposing bail in all robbery cases and where investigations are complete, the NPA is expediting the trials.

"Nine hundred and thirty people were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for robbery across the country for the period January 1 to October 30, 2022.

"Every robbery conviction attracts a prison term and where a weapon has been used to inflict harm or threaten the victims, the NPA advocates a very stiff penalty to deter would-be offenders."

In August, President Mnangagwa decreed a firearms amnesty granting clemency for voluntary surrender of unregistered firearms and ammunition to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) by September 30.

Police recovered 538 unregistered firearms and 260 rounds of ammunition during the two-month window.

It was believed the firearms were being used to commit violent crimes, including armed robbery.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said specialised crack teams to deal with robbers have been set up countrywide.

"We are very serious about fighting robbery and we have crack teams throughout the country that have made a number of arrests, compiled dockets and forwarded them to NPA for prosecution," he said.

"We have also made a number of recoveries of the loot which includes cash, vehicles and even properties.

"There are people who, soon after committing robbery, go on to buy properties and even pay lobola using the proceeds.

"Our teams are always on alert of such issues and we are working with other agencies to ensure that we bring down these cases of robbery."

Recently, a gang of armed robbers pounced on ABC Auctions offices on Seke Road in Harare and took off with cash and valuables worth US$1,4 million.

In a separate incident, armed robbers pounced on a vehicle transporting gold from How Mine and stole 12 kilogrammes of the precious metal.

Meanwhile, the NPA secured asset forfeiture orders to recover property valued at over US$5 million believed to have been procured through proceeds of crime.

"This year alone, we have so far obtained forfeiture orders worth US$5,6 million and currently there are pending matters before the courts involving properties worth US$20 million," said Mrs Munyeriwa.

"Total value of assets forfeited through the courts is US$5,6 million, while there are six seizure orders valued at US$6 million pending further investigations.

"There are three interdict orders pending further investigations worth US$3,7 million."

Source - The Sunday Mail