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Soldier in court for dealing in grenades, landmines

by Staff Reporter
01 Jan 2014 at 06:31hrs | Views
A 38-year-old soldier based at the Zimbabwe National Army central ammunition depot in Darwendale, Mashonaland West Province and four accomplices were on Tuesday sentenced to 840 hours of community service for dealing in grenades and landmines.

Romeo Mangwaira, who is a lieutenant, was convicted by Mark Dzira together with accomplices Shashirika Mushaninga, 54, Samson Munikwa, 36, Amos Mazhambe, 48, and Martin Padya, 44.

Mangwaira's address was given as Chikonohono Township in Chinhoyi, Mushaninga Lower Paradise Marondera, Munikwa (Chikonohono Township), Mazhambe (Sizinda Bulawayo) and Padya (Chikonohono Township).

Sentencing the five, Dzira said he could have given them a custodial sentence had it not been for the fact that they did not benefit from the offence.

"As first offenders you deserve a chance because you did not benefit from the offence. But as adults you should desist from committing crime, you are able bodied people and you can do any kind of business, however, you have to do it legally," said the magistrate.

Mangwaira, Mushaninga, Munikwa, Mazhambe and Padya were sentenced to 36 months in prison of which 12 months were conditionally suspended.

The remaining 24 months were suspended on condition each of them completes the 840 hours of community service at their nearest primary schools starting on January 6.

In defence, the five said they wanted mercury from the grenades and landmines, specifically from Germany or France.
Prosecuting, Tinashe Dzipe said in aggravation, the grenades were a security threat as they could detonate any time.

Dzipe narrated how on April 24, 2013, Detectives from the Law and Order Section, Bulawayo were tipped by members of the public that the five were moving around the country looking for grenades and landmines to buy.

Mushaninga, Munukwa, Mazhambe and Padya are cross border traders.
On April 28, Mazhambe phoned an unnamed informant in the matter telling him that the buyers of grenades and landmines had arrived in Bulawayo from Harare.

Police, who were monitoring the gang, set a trap with the help of the informant and arranged that they meet at Greys Inn along Leopold Takawira Street.

Mangwaira, Mushaninga and Munikwa were lured by the informant to the place where the informant had been given a fake grenade by the police so that he could appear as a prospective seller of grenades and when the three arrived, he handed it over to Mangwaira.

Mangwaira, Mushaninga and Munikwa were arrested as they attempted to go out of Greys Inn with the grenade.
Mangwaira was ordered to phone Mazhambe and Padya to come to the hotel and they were also arrested.

Police recovered $850 from Mazhambe and Dzira yesterday ruled that it should be returned to him.

Source - Chronicle