NINE suspected armed robbers who were found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition were each yesterday jailed for three effective years.
It is likely that at least some of the group may now face trial on robbery charges as well.
Musa Taj Abdul, Liberty Mupamhanga Prince Makodza, Godfrey Mupamhanga, Charles Lundu Rudolph Kanhanga, Innocent Jairos, Tapiwa Mangoma and Carrington Marasha were jailed when they appeared before magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko yesterday.
Mrs Mateko had initially jailed them for four years each before suspending a year for five years on condition they do not commit a similar offence.
In sentencing the nine, Mrs Mateko said the court was disturbed by their behaviour as the weapon is believed to have been used for criminal activities.
She said it was disturbing to note that one of the gang members, Tapiwa Mangoma was a police officer who had a duty to protect members of public from criminals.
“The weapon could have been used on various scenes and makes it aggravating. It could be possible that it was the one which was used in robberies in Chitungwiza, Kwekwe and Murambinda.
“The court was disturbed by accused 8’s (Mangoma) behaviour as he is a member of ZRP. It was his duty to protect members of the public from people he was harbouring at his place of residence and not to assist them as they were on the wanted list by CID homicide.
“As a member of police, he knew the importance of a certificate when possessing a firearm. It was his duty to protect members of the public and they should be in a position to have confidence in them,” she said.
Mrs Mateko said sending the nine to prison was not only for their rehabilitation, but also to make them appreciate how much damage they caused to society and was meant to protect the society from such criminals.