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Leakages of the country’s mineral resources have ripple effects on the economy and these leakages need to be stopped forthwith. The Minerals and Border Control Unit, a department in the Zimbabwe Republic Police which deals with these crimes among other crimes is always on the ground to sniff out these offences. They have made numerous arrests in the country and many have been convicted in our courts for various offences.
One of the most notable arrests was when a Detective from the section intercepted about 15 kilogrammes of pure gold which was destined to South Africa at a toll gate along Harare – Masvingo Highway after tracking a vehicle from a house in Belvedere. The Gold buttons worthy 1 million dollars were concealed on the rubber floor of the Mercedes Benz Vito on the panels behind the seats. With the help of police officers at the tollgate, he arrested Tomothy Makarimayi (49) and Fungai Mashava (28) who denied knowledge of the gold and they led the detective to another suspect Dennis Kwendamawira (60) who they allege he had given them the vehicle to go to South Africa. The three suspects were arrested and further implicated another man – Yaya Materiya (30) Director of Norstein Trading Pvt Ltd. The Mercedes Benz Vito used to carry the gold belonged to this company.
The suspects then offered the detective a bribe of 60 000 and he declined the bribe money and arrested them for bribery instead. Yaya who was now accompanied by his brother Rashid requested to meet the Detective’s superior and offered him and the detective a bribe of $193 230 as additional bribe money and they arrested them.
- Hits: 13798
In the mid 90s, the ZRP had a tough battle with notorious armed robbers and murderers who killed ruthlessly for money. The most notable were two fugitives - Edgar Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo - whose reign of terror in and around Zimbabwe between October 1994 and September 1997 sent shivers down the spine of Zimbabwean citizens and also gave the police sleepless nights.
Chidhumo, who was an ex-convict having served a four year jail term for car theft in 1991 went on an armed robbery spree after his release in October 1994. He was re-arrested in Bulawayo but he escaped from police custody in Masvingo in May 1995 only to be recaptured by Mutare Police Dog Section a month later.
Masendeke and Chidhumo’s alliance began when the two were at Mutimurefu Remand Prison. The two fugitives together with Langton Moses Zano, Langton Charumbira and Jameson Maverudze Musara escaped from Mutimurefu Prison in November 1995. They forced prison guards into the cells before walking away. Masendeke and Chidhumo then went on a series of armed robberies and murders in Masvingo and Manicaland Provinces. They were involved in several skirmishes with the police and somehow managed to evade arrest on several times.
Chidhumo was to be arrested at a later date in Mozambique and was charged and found guilty on 24 counts of various crimes and was sentenced to 30 years by a Masvingo Magistrate after a Regional Magistrate, Mr Selo Nare had sentenced him to 42 years for other offences which he committed in Manicaland. He was sent to Chikurubi Maximum Prison to serve his sentence.
Chidhumo’s arrest meant that his partner in crime, Masendeke became a lone ranger and continued on a series of robberies some of which he committed in Kwekwe.
In August 1997, Chidhumo made history and in a movie like style escaped from Chikurubi Maximum Prison with three others – ex-policeman Pedzisai Musariri, ex-soldier Elias Chauke and Mariko Ngulube. Musariri was shot dead, Chauke was recaptured and Ngulube died from serious wounds sustained during the escape. Chidhumo managed to escape unscathed and rejoined his longtime fugitive friend Masendeke.
Following a series of operations by the ZRP, Masendeke was to be arrested on his way to Chimoio near Susunhenga. Two weeks later, Chidhumo who was an alleged son of a BSAP member and a Karateka of repute was arrested in Beira by a team of the Mozambican Police and Zimbabwe Republic Police.
The two were convicted for several armed robbery cases, attempted murder and murder among other offences and were sent to the gallows in 2002.
The arrest of the two notorious criminals brought back sanity in the country as well as restored the confidence which the public have towards the ZRP.