By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent
A GANG of nine alleged thieves, including a Zambian national, has been arraigned before a local magistrate for stealing a truckload of copper cathodes valued at US$316,299.39.
Accused persons are Isheunesu Chihava (52), Silas Nyoni (36), David Guvheya (44), Nyukai Chiramba (37), and Edward Tichaona Mapiye (40).
Others are Tinashe Nyamadzawo (35), Lovemore Mabota (53), Tadiwa Makeke (19) and Gift Zuze (33).
They appeared Monday before Chinhoyi Magistrate Langton Ndokera facing theft charges as defined in section 113 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23.
Chihava and Nyoni were remanded in custody after bail was denied while the rest were admitted to ZW$50 000 bail each.
Detectives had opposed bail arguing accused persons were facing a serious offence and that they were found in possession of two firearms, which they wanted to use during their arrest, but were disarmed.
The matter was remanded to March 24 for routine remand.
State case, led by Tafadzwa Knight Rwodzi, is that on March 8, 2023 Chihava entered Zimbabwe through Chirundu Border Post driving a Freightliner truck belonging to Alro Transport loaded with 35 180 kilogrammes of copper cathodes.
The consignment was coming from Congo in transit to Beira, Mozambique.
Upon reaching Lion’s Den situated just outside Chinhoyi, Chihava communicated with eight other accused persons who proceeded to the rendezvous.
The gang went on to disable the truck’s mobile tracker using a jamming device such that the vehicle was undetectable on the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Court heard accused persons got into truck and drove it to Guvheya’s residence in Mapako suburb, Chinhoyi where they offloaded copper using a crane truck belonging to Guvheya.
The gang then drove truck to Chegutu where they dumped it along the Chegutu-Chakari road and returned aboard a Toyota Hiace belonging to Nyoni, who is a Zambian national.
A police report of the missing truck was lodged and investigations led to the arrest of the nine at a service station in Chinhoyi.