Fungai Lupande Senior Court Reporter
A convicted former police officer allegedly masqueraded as a member of the Zimbabwe National Army’s Military Police and accused Indian businessman Jayesh Shah of conspiring to assassinate President Emmerson Mnangagwa before stealing over $90 000.
Fortune Sibanda (31) yesterday appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing robbery charges. He was remanded in custody to December 28. Sibanda was convicted with five others in September this year of robbing an Indian businessman of $56 000 at a fake road block.
He was sentenced to three years. He allegedly committed the fresh offence while on bail pending appeal of the conviction and sentence. The prosecutor Ms Linda Gadzikwa is alleging that on November 28, Sibanda teamed up with Elvis Machinga, Vengai Shoko, Gift Chimuka and others only identified as Matuke, Maruke and Banda.
The group allegedly drove to No. 108 West Road, Avondale West in Harare in a white van and confronted a security guard at the premises purporting to be military police looking for accommodation.
The court heard that suddenly, the group drew pistols and ordered the security guard to surrender keys to the gate. They entered the premises and allegedly lied that they were on a State-sanctioned operation and wanted to interview the complainant. It is alleged the accused failed to locate the complainant and left.
The following day the group returned and forcibly entered the complainant’s office. The court heard that they accused him of dealing with two former Ministers Ignatius Chombo and Saviour Kasukuwere.
They also accused the complainant of sponsoring the Zanu-PF G40 faction in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, money laundering and hoarding cash among other crimes.
It is alleged that they advised the complainant that he was under arrest together with his secretary Louise Smith. They subdued them. The accused ransacked the office and stole $15 600, 410 Singapore dollars, 3 050 Dubai Dhiram, 16 000 Thai Bhat and 4 000 Hong Kong dollars.
They allegedly dragged the complainant and his secretary to his Hyundai Sonata and drove to Harare International Conference Centre (HICC). Five other accused approached the vehicle and threatened to detain the pair at the then KGVI Barracks.
They searched the complainant and stole $6 000. They threatened to assault him severely demanding to know where he kept his money. He gave in and directed them to his Gift Investments Company at No. 9 Hood Road Southerton in Harare. They stole $70 000 from the safe.
They gave him back $4 500 and ordered him to leave the country and never return. It is alleged that they dumped them at an open space opposite Harare Showground around 9pm and fled. He lost $86 600, 3 050 Dubai Dhiram, 16 000 Thai Bhat and 4 000 Hong Kong dollars.