Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
ONE of nine armed men who allegedly raided a gold dealer’s offices in Bulawayo’s North End suburb and got away with a Wifi router, digital video recorder, four cellphones and US$900 has approached the High Court for bail.
Simon Makwelo (35) of Nketa suburb was attacked by an angry mob after allegedly exhausting his ammunition while trying to scare them away soon after staging an armed robbery at the complainant’s business premises.
He had allegedly ganged up with eight accomplices still at large and pounced on the offices of a Bulawayo company operating in North End suburb.
Makwelo, through his lawyers Ncube Attorneys, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as the respondent.
In his bail statement, Makwelo is denying the charges, arguing that he was part of onlookers at the robbery scene. He said he was allegedly mistakenly implicated by a member of the public who raised false alarm leading to him being subjected to mob justice.
“I was confronted by a member of the public who stated that I was part of the robbers after he saw me engaging with the culprits. I was assaulted and dragged towards the premises of the company so that I could be captured by closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and implicated in the robbery,” he argued.
Makwelo said there was nothing which was recovered from him as alleged. “It is strongly denied that a pistol and a stolen Samsung J4 were recovered from me. To the contrary, I only regained consciousness at Mpilo Central Hospital and all my valuables including my cellphones had been lost,” he said.
Makwelo said his rib cage was fractured and is now struggling to breathe due to the pain he sustained during the mob attack.
He said he is a good candidate for bail and offered to pay $3 000 bail and to report thrice a week at Nkulumane Police Station as part of the bail conditions. He also pledged to hand over to the Registrar of the High Court title deeds of his house as bail recognisance.
Makwelo argued that the State case was weak hence he would not harbour any thoughts of absconding trial if released on bail. The State is yet to respond.
Court papers state that on December 6 last year, Makwelo who was in the company of his eight accomplices still at large, armed themselves with axes and pistols.
They allegedly went to the complainant’s workplace in North End suburb where they damaged the door using axes to gain entry. Soon after gaining entry into the company’s main office, one of the accused persons fired a single shot into the air and ordered everyone to lie down.
One of the suspects allegedly demanded cash and gold.
The complainant surrendered US$900 that she was carrying, but Makwelo and his gang allegedly went on to ransack the office. They took several cellphones, a digital video recorder, Wi-Fi router and a box containing torn United States dollar notes and fled. Soon after committing the alleged offence, the armed robbers took to their heels with the mob hot in pursuit.
The mob managed to catch up with Makwelo who fired several shots in an effort to scare them away. Makwelo, however, ran out of bullets resulting in the mob apprehending him.
They savagely attacked him before handing him over to the police leading to his arrest. A Star pistol and one of the stolen cellphones, a Samsung J4, were recovered from Makwelo.
The value of the stolen goods is $32 128 and property worth $1 000 was recovered. Makwelo’s accomplices are still at large and police have since launched a [email protected]