A soldier has been jailed for five years by a Zimbabwe Defence Forces general court martial and discharged from the army dishonourably for supplying information to the armed robbers who hit Surrey Farm near Marondera last November.
Trooper Watson Ndebvu was found guilty on February 24 of involvement in the robbery which involved his co-accused Lance Corporal Tatenda Dzimbanhete and Trooper Wilfred Munesi on November 15 last year.
The two actual robbers have already had their court martial and were jailed for 40 years each, with five years knocked off if they give back the money they stole
In a statement yesterday, ZNA director Public Relations Colonel Alphios Makotore said: “Trooper Ndebvu was found guilty after a full trial for the role he played by supplying his accomplices with vital information which resulted in the armed robbery at the farm.”
He reiterated that the Zimbabwe National Army does not condone any cases of indiscipline and misconduct and warned that the law will take its course on any would be offenders.
Last month, Lance Corporal Tatenda Dzimbanhete and Trooper Wilfred Munesi who were convicted of armed robbery were each jailed by a Zimbabwe Defence Forces general court martial for 40 years, with five years suspended if they give back the money they stole in the robbery committed two months earlier.
Lance Corporal Tatenda Dzimbanhete and Trooper Wilfred Munesi pleaded guilty to the charges of armed robbery which they committed on 15 November 2021 at Surrey Farm near Marondera.
Besides their jail terms, Dzimbanhete was reduced in rank to private, and Munesi was reduced to first year trooper, both the lowest ranks possible, before they were dishonourably discharged from the defence forces.
Five years of each sentence was suspended on condition that they restitute Simon Arnold of Surrey Farm near Marondera the US$16 830 and R600 that a gang of six, the two soldiers and four civilians, stole at gunpoint after shooting and injuring Mr Arnold.
The six robbers armed with an AK47 assault rifle and a pistol raided the home of Surrey managing director Mr Arnold on November 15 last year, whom they shot and injured before taking the money, three pistols and other valuables. They sped away in an unmarked Toyota Wish.
Military chiefs have also expressed concern over the rising number of armed robbery cases involving members of the defence services and have made it clear that they will hunt down those involved in crime and deal with them.
Two other soldiers in December last year appeared in a civilian court facing charges of murder and armed robbery after they got away with US$40 000 in a heist at a Hatfield house in Harare.
Lameck Kabara from the Zimbabwe National Defence College and Christopher Charuma, stationed at the Air Force of Zimbabwe Manyame Airbase, were arrested over the December 24 robbery and the killing of Elvis Chijaka.
The armed robbery and killing occurred not very far from the Chadcombe house of Joseph Nemaisa, a retired police detective who shot and killed three armed robbers, two of them soldiers.