Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
A man who lured a foreign currency dealer into Pearl House in Harare and tried to steal about $2 100 at gun point has been sentenced to an effective six years in jail.
Norman Gandidzanwa (45) of Chitungwiza pleaded not guilty to attempted armed robbery and contravening the Firearms Act, but was convicted after a full trial.
Harare magistrate Ms Lucy Mungwari sentenced Gandidzanwa to eight years in prison before suspending two years on condition that in the next five years he does not commit a similar offence.
The court heard that on January 13 this year, a foreign currency dealer, Talent Dubiwa, was at Travel Centre looking for clients.
Gandidzanwa approached him and introduced himself as Zimhondi and indicated that he had R30 000, which he wanted to change into United States dollars.
The parties agreed on an exchange rate of $7 for every R100 and they exchanged numbers.
The following day, Gandidzanwa invited Dubiwa to Meikles Hotel for the transaction, but later directed him to Pearl House at No. 61 Samora Machel Avenue.
At around 9am, Gandidzanwa entered Pearl House and indicated to a security guard, Revai Katiyo, that he was visiting Savannah Travel Agent to buy an air ticket.
He showed the security guard a national identity card in the name of Paidamoyo Mureriwa and advised Katiyo that his brother was joining him shortly, referring to Dubiwa.
Dubiwa was accompanied to Pearl House by Simpson Mapfumo and Calton Muduwiwa, but only Dubiwa and Mapfumo went inside.
The pair met Gandidzanwa and was directed to the fifth floor, which was vacant.
Mapfumo was in possession of $2 100 for the transaction and the pair was directed into a kitchen, while Gandidzanwa went into another room.
Suddenly, Gandidzanwa returned armed with a pistol. He corked the firearm and ordered the pair to lie down and surrender the cash.
Dubiwa and Mapfumo resisted, prompting Gandidzanwa to cork the pistol again, but suspecting that the firearm had no bullets, the pair stood up and charged towards him.
They wrestled the firearm and Gandidzanwa fled the building.
Dubiwa and Mapfumo gave chase shouting for help, but Gandidzanwa managed to threaten Katiyo and ran out of the building. The pair was joined by police officers in pursuit of Gandidzanwa, who was running along Samora Machel Avenue, due west.
Gandidzanwa was arrested at the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Leopold Takawira Street and the Llama Especial pistol with an empty magazine was recovered from him. The pistol was registered in the name of Shingai Importers (Pvt) Ltd.