By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter
HIGH Court judge, Justice Benjamin Chikowero, has denied bail to two siblings, believed to be President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s nephews who were allegedly involved in a foiled robbery attempt.
The two Tawanda and Vengesai Munangagwa are being charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and unlawful possession of firearms.
Tawanda is a squadron leader in the Air Force of Zimbabwe at Manyame, and Vengesai 46, owns a huge farm in Marondera.
It is alleged they wanted to rob artisanal miners in a bid to fund operations at their farm in Kadoma.
The siblings are partners in Litapet Mining Syndicate, which carries out mining activities at Plot Number 5 Overflow Farm, Muzvezve in Kadoma.
Chikowero said evidence against the two is overwhelming, so they should stay in jail awaiting trial.
“The offence is serious and the evidence against them appears to be strong. This is an offence which is likely to attract a lengthy custodial sentence. In the circumstances, my finding is that there is a very high risk that the applicants will not stand trial in fear of the real prospect of conviction and a lengthy custodial sentence being imposed in respect of the first count, if they were to be released on bail,” ruled the judge.
Allegations are that on 14 April 2022, members of the Criminal Investigations Department received information to the effect that the two had conspired to commit robbery in aggravating circumstances at Plot Number 5 Overlaw Farm, Muzvezve in Kadoma.
The arresting team intercepted the two along Bulawayo Road near Norton.
They were driving a white Nissan Hardbody twin cab, registration number ABY 4331.
Searches conducted inside the vehicle yielded an AK47 rifle with serial number ZA 43870, as well as a magazine containing thirty (30) rounds.
These were under the driver’s seat and this led to the duo’s arrest.
Further searches were carried out at Tawanda’s residence the following day and the police recovered a 9mm Tokarev Pistol, serial number 16014372, with an empty magazine.
The pistol had been placed under the mattress in his bedroom.
During bail hearing, the court heard the two were arrested as a result of a trap set up by the police on information supplied by one Chifamba, a serving member of the Zimbabwe National Army, whom the applicants had conspired with to commit the robbery.
Tawanda had sold the plan to commit the robbery to Chifamba and requested the latter to bring a firearm for the purpose.
Chifamba had pretended to accept membership into the alleged criminal enterprise, but he alerted his superiors. Authority was issued to release the AK 47 and the full magazine from the armoury, as well as his own release to join the siblings.