Brenda Zinyuke, Court Reporter
A MAN who was part of a seven-men gang that raided an illegal money changer at his Pumula home before torturing him into revealing where he had hidden cash has been sentenced to an effective 10 years in jail.
Shepherd Ndlovu (29) was found guilty of armed robbery charges by Bulawayo magistrate, Mr Trynos Hutawashe.
Mr Tasara Muzvarigwa (38) and his wife whose name was not established lost US$5 930, RTGS $1 500, R33 800, two cell phones and two cars – a Honda Fit and Toyota Hiace – to the seven armed robbers after they raided the family’s home in April.
Ndlovu and his alleged accomplice Mkhululi Ndlovu (28) were both facing armed robbery charges but the latter was acquitted on that charge and found guilty on theft charges after he was found in possession of a cell phone that was stolen during the armed robbery. The pair’s alleged accomplices are still on the run.
The magistrate jailed Ndlovu for 10 years for armed robbery and Mkhululi was fined $100 for theft.
“In your previous appearances in court both of you pleaded not guilty to armed robbery charges. As such based on evidence presented in court, the first accused person was found not guilty of armed robbery and is therefore acquitted but he is however, found guilty of theft charges. As such he is sentenced to pay a fine of $100 or he goes to prison for 30 days,” said the magistrate.
“The second accused person is guilty of armed robbery. The value of stolen property was too much and he deserves a custodial sentence.”
The magistrate sentenced him to 12 years in jail and suspended two years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
Prosecuting, Mr Jethro Mada said sometime in April 2019 at 7.30PM, the gang raided Mr Muzvarigwa whom they suspected to be a foreign currency dealer.
“Ndlovu in the company of six others got inside Mr Muzvarigwa’s yard through the main gate. They gained entry into the house through an unlocked but closed door,” said Mr Mada.
He said Mr Muzvarigwa was sleeping while his children were watching television in the lounge when the gang stormed into his house and ordered everyone to lie down.
“The gang tied their hands with cable tiers and curtain cables at the same time threatening to shoot anyone who failed to comply,” said Mr Mada.
He said the suspects demanded money from Mr Muzvarigwa and indicated that they knew that he had a large sum of money kept in his house.
Mr Mada said Mr Muzvarigwa, who feared for his life and safety of his family, immediately showed the robbers a bag where he kept his money. Upon seeing that it had bond notes, they kicked Mr Muzvarigwa demanding US dollars, the court heard.
Mr Mada said the gang ransacked the house, turning everything upside down and found a bunch of US dollars which were stashed inside a folded blanket on top of the wardrobe.
He said the gang tasered Mr Muzvarigwa with an electric shocker and threatened to harm his family as they demanded more cash.
“Having ransacked the whole house, the robbers demanded car keys and drove away in Mr Muzvarigwa’s two cars, which they later dumped along Siyepambili Drive at Emakhandeni fly-over,” said Mr Mada.
He said police investigations led to the arrest of the suspects.