State seeks tougher jail terms for armed robbers

Court Reporter

Presenting evidence in aggravation against an armed robber who was convicted of five counts of armed robbery and another charge of illegally possessing a firearm, the State yesterday called for heavier jail terms for armed robbers, saying their acts leave many in society heavily traumatised.

Mr Shepherd Makonde, representing the State, said cases of armed robberies were on the rise and the courts should send a clear message to the like-minded through heavy punishments.

Ishmael Nhengu alias Tafadzwa Chivero was convicted of five counts of armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Kudakwashe Mhene.

He begged for leniency from the court saying he was of ill-health and that he was married with two children.

But Mr Makonde said he had started the criminal life from the deeper end and should “face the music”.

“The State calls for a custodial sentence. He started from the deep end of the pool and he should sink. The manner in which he committed the offence exposed complainants to extreme torture. 

“They were traumatised and such animal behaviour must stop. Would-be offenders should know that crime does not pay. Robberies are escalating and it is time when the courts must send a clear message to show that they take robbery cases seriously,” he said.

Nhengu will be sentenced today.

On March 28 this year, Nhengu teamed up with Jeffrey Kanyama, one Givemore, Takunda Mutsamwiri and someone called Taga and went to Sheila Matindike’s residence in Eastlea, Harare. Kanyama, Givemore, Mutsamwiri and Taga are still at large.

They broke into her house and threatened to shoot her before stealing goods worth US$8 845 that they loaded into Mrs Matindike’s car and drove away.

On April 3, Nhengu teamed up with his accomplices and broke into Samson Tichatonga Makari’s house in Glen Lorne, Harare.

Nhengu and his gang ordered Mr Makari to lie on the bed facing downwards and handcuffed him.

They assaulted him, resulting in Mr Makari directing them to the drawer where they took US$300.

Nhengu and his gang ransacked the house and stole a Samsung S10, Samsung S7, an iPhone 7, a 55-inch JVC television set, decoder, two carpets, 15 pairs of shoes and clothing and other valuables.

They then loaded the property into Mr Makari’s Honda Fit vehicle (AEY 9134) and drove away. 

The car was found on April 5 dumped in Chitungwiza.

On June 22, Nhengu admitted to stealing Mr Makari’s car while in the company of his gang upon his arrest.

Nhengu also teamed up with his gang and went to Tanaka Mufakose’s residence in Gletwyn, Harare, where Zireva Zireva also stayed. 

After quizzing Mufakose, they went to the main house where Mr Zireva was with his wife, Neile.

Mr Zireva heard the gang trying to break into his house and tried to awaken his neighbours.

While he was calling, Nhengu and his team entered the room and one of them forcibly snatched Mr Zireva’s phone, forced him to lie down, and demanded US$15 000 and safe keys before ransacking the room.

The court heard that they forcibly took the keys of a Hyundai Sonata (ADR 1816), Nissan NP300 (ABB 0891) and Nissan NP300 (AFN 0145), 2 HP laptops, US$40, a 32-inch Samsung television set and other valuables.

Police investigations established that one of the stolen cellphones, a Huawei Y3, was being used by Gertrude Mashasha of Muguta in Epworth, Harare. Mashasha was picked up for interviews and indicated that she bought it from Nhengu, who was subsequently arrested.

He then led police to Remington Nyambera whom he had sold an HP laptop.

On June 22, 2021, Nhengu led detectives to his residence where searches were made leading to the recovery of three 12 bore shotgun cartridges stashed under his mattress.

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