Truck driver steals US$750k copper, dumps vehicle in Chegutu

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

A TRUCK driver appeared in court Tuesday, charged with stealing over 30 tonnes of copper worth US$750 000.

He allegedly stashed the copper in a bush near Chinhoyi, before dumping the vehicle in Chegutu.

Masimba Murombo (47) of New Mabvuku, Harare, is employed by Biltrans Services (Private) Limited.

He appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate, Batsirai Madzingira, and was granted ZW$30 000 bail.

The matter was adjourned to May 26, 2022 for routine remand.

Allegations are that sometime in March this year, Murombo was tasked to transport 31 980 kilogrammes of processed copper from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to South Africa via Zimbabwe.

He was allocated a truck fitted with vehicle tracking systems namely Global Positioning System (GPS) and Frequency Modulation (FM) transmitter, as well as a Sendem fleet management tracker.

The court heard that on April 15, 2022, upon arrival at Chirundu Border Post, Murombo disconnected the FM transmitter and Sendem Fleet Management tracker, such that it could not send his movement records to the Biltrans head office.

It is further alleged he drove the truck to Eleven Miles truck stop near Lion’s Den in Chinhoyi, where he parked it.

In order to deceive Biltrans, Murombo communicated with the transport controller and lied he would spend the night at Eleven Miles truck stop.

On the same date, around 10pm, the court further heard, Murombo tampered with the tracking systems in order to start the vehicle ignition as it doesn’t function if trackers are disconnected. At this juncture, a signal was relayed to Biltrans on the exact location of the truck.

Soon after starting the engine, Murombo, again, allegedly disabled the trackers and drove to a bush near Hunyani Farm, where he offloaded and hid the copper.

Thereafter, it is also alleged, he drove the truck to Chegutu and dumped it at the 105-kilometre peg along the Harare-Bulawayo highway.

The following day, Biltrans discovered the truck was untraceable and made efforts to contact Murombo, whose phone number was no longer reachable.

The transport company then checked with GPS and discovered the empty truck in Chegutu.

A police report was lodged and investigations led to the recovery of the 30 690 kilogrammes copper sheets loot in a bush close to Hunyani Farm, Chinhoyi.

Murombo was subsequently arrested at Dema, Mashonaland East Province on May 7, 2022.

Copper worth US$719 750 was recovered.

Tinashe Dzvore represented the accused, while Clever Nyapfani prosecuted.