A Gweru police officer who was part of a five-member gang of armed robbers who raided a mine near the city was handed a 60-year jail term.
The cop, Thulani Nkala (38) appeared together with Taurai Matarirano (27), Isaac Kawundura (33), George Chikomberanwa (34) and Dunira Hungwe (33) before Gweru Regional Magistrate Mrs. Phathekile Msipa facing 10 counts of armed robbery.
The five-member gang had pleaded not guilty to the charges but were convicted on six counts after the court proved that the five robbers were each armed with assault rifles when they raided the mine.
According to Msipa, at one time the accused fired shots at a mine, killing a security guard’s dog.
She then jailed them for 60 years each and suspended 15 years for good behavior.
According to state papers, sometime in 2018 Nkala who was wearing an anti-riot police uniform and armed with a 303 rifle went to a local mine run by Camlark Investments with Matarirano, Kawundura, Chikomberanwa, and Hungwe.
“They searched security guards and took their cellphones and they stole property valued at US$1 700. They also stole Zhang Dawei`s Chinese passport and US$1 070 and $1 500 at his quarters and nothing was recovered.
“On the same day and at the same mine, the gang threatened another Chinese national Mr Chen Yang Yang with firearms and took his cellphone, US$930, $330, R400 and 17 000 Chinese Yuan.
“They went to another employee, Mr. Jinkai Yu`s room and robbed him of US$900, $150 and 300 Chinese Yuan.
“They further went to the quarters of the manager , threatened him with firearms and robbed him of US$1 200, $120 and 840 Chinese Yuan.
“They proceeded to the managing director`s room, also ransacked the room looking for valuables and managed to get US$2 000, $5 000, 10 kilogrammes of silver which was stored in cone and bar shapes. They deflated tyres for two vehicles.
“They stole an Isuzu king cab and drove away from the scene to a point near Old Eastlea and the cab was recovered,” read the state papers.