THREE Harare men have been sentenced to a combined 30 years in prison for their involvement in a US$2.7 million robbery from ZB Bank in Chinhoyi two years ago.
Shadreck Njowa, the former internal security manager for cash in transit, who was the mastermind of the robbery, Tendai Zuze and Neverson Mwamuka were convicted of robbery after a full trial and sentenced to 10 years each by regional magistrate Clever Tsikwa.
In addition to the 10-year sentences, the court also confiscated all the proceeds of the robbery, and suspended two years from each of them on condition of good behaviour.
The proceeds included US$130 300 and a fleet of vehicles, which include a Honda Fit, Toyota Hiace Baby Quantum and an unregistered Dunno Truck and a Toyota Lexus.
In passing the sentence, magistrate Tsikwa said the trio ought to be given a custodial sentence given the propensity of the crime committed in aggravating circumstances.
Prosecutor Loveit Muringwa told the court that on January 6, 2021, at around 11.30am, three security staffers, Nomatter Jonga (43), Mathew Simango (66) and Fanuel Musakwa (34), were tasked with carrying seven boxes containing US$2 775 000. This cash was to be distributed to ZB branches in Chinhoyi, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Gwanda and Zvishavane.
The security guards were travelling in a Toyota Hilux single cab with a canopy, secured with a tracker and emergency panic button.
The initial allegations presented in court were that the three hatched a plan to steal the money and connived with six others.
The security guards later testified as witnesses in the trial.
It was alleged that Jonga, Simango and Musakwa picked three unknown suspects at the Westgate roundabout in Harare and drove to the Inkomo tollgate where they collected a box containing US$43 090, which was supposed to be deposited at the bank,
They then picked up three more men at Inkomo Barracks turn-off driving towards Chinhoyi.
It was alleged that upon reaching the 60km peg, Jonga stopped the vehicle and a fake robbery was staged. The State alleged 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.