TWO police officers who were part of a five-member armed gang that allegedly robbed a second-hand clothes dealer of US$248 000 late last year using service firearms, will remain in custody after the High Court denied them bail.
Crispen Kado (29) of ZRP Rhodesville and Daniel Kademba (37) of ZRP Mabvuku and Tafadzwa Takawengwa, are facing one count of armed robbery, while their two accomplices remain at large.
It emerged during their bail hearing before Justice Tawanda Chitapi that Kado and Kademba have a pending criminal case at the Harare Magistrates’ Court where they stand charged with criminal abuse of duty as public officers.
In that case, the allegations are that they assisted some robbers to escape when they should have been arrested and prosecuted. In the present case, the allegations are that they turned robbers themselves. In denying the trio bail, Justice Chitapi noted that on the face of it, the offences were not the same.
“However, one does not lose sight of the fact that where a police officer offends the law which he or she is supposed to safeguard and becomes the villain instead of a defender of the law, the court takes a serious view of the matter,” he said.
In his testimony, the investigating officer told the judge that though the suspects were arrested without resistance, his fear was that they would abscond if granted bail.
Justice Chitapi had no problem with the State’s fears adding that an arrest and the charging of an accused are different processes.
“It is only upon being charged that the accused then appreciate the enormity of the crime charged and his precarious position,” he said.
The prima facie evidence linking the applicants to the commission of the offence is strong.” The firearm allegedly used in the robbery was issued to Kado for official use and Kademba was sold out by his fingerprints that were lifted from the complainant’s car.
The robbery was committed at Mufusire Uphill in Headlands, a place notorious for theft from motor vehicle cases. It is alleged that on October 22 last year, the complainant, Tinei Mainato was a passenger travelling from Harare to Mozambique in a Honda Fit vehicle He had US$248 664 cash intending to buy bales of second-hand clothes.
On arrival at Mufusire Uphill in Headlands, the vehicle had a tyre puncture prompting them to slow down. A Toyota Wish came from behind with five occupants.
The vehicle drove side-by-side with the Honda Fit and one of the robbers ordered the driver to stop, but did not comply. One of the suspects produced a pistol and fired one shot, forcing him to stop.
Four of the suspects disembarked and approached Mainato who was in the vehicle and ordered him to surrender cash and cell phones. Mainato surrendered US$248 664, one ITEL cell phone and a Samsung J1.
The gang fled leaving the complainant at the scene. Investigations led to the recovery of the suspect’s firearm from ZRP Rhodesvile, and it was taken to CID Ballistics for examination. The spent cartridge recovered at the crime scene matched the bullets given to Kado when he was using the pistol from October 16 to 23.
Further investigations revealed that Kado and Kademba were jointly using the firearm. Kademba’s fingerprints matched those which were uplifted from the vehicle at the scene of robbery.