THE case in which US$334 290 was brazenly stolen from a cash-in-transit vehicle between Gweru and Kwekwe last Thursday evening, has taken a new twist with police unearthing evidence linking the Fawcett security guards who were transporting the cash to an audacious fake robbery staged to get away with the loot.
It had been reported that six robbers, including two who were wearing police uniforms, had mounted a fake roadblock at the 234km peg along the Harare-Bulawayo road and got away with the cash after aiming guns at the Fawcett guards.
However, some of the money stolen from the cash-in-transit vehicle was yesterday recovered from the wife of one of the Fawcett guards in Bulawayo.
It has emerged that the guards allegedly connived with some well-known armed robbers from Bulawayo to commit the crime.
In a statement last night, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said it had now been established that the Fawcett crew had stage-managed the robbery.
“It is now a fact that the guards were lying that they had been approached by two police officers and four civilians who were armed and driving an unidentified vehicle,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
The police have since arrested Fawcett security guards Bongani Mapfumo, Blessing Luwizhi and Josphine Ndlovu in connection with the case.
Police have also since established that there was a truck that had broken down at the point where the guards claim they were robbed, with eyewitness accounts all but showing that the robbery was fake.
“According to credible witnesses, the guards did not stop at this point and their vehicle was clearly seen speeding along the Harare-Bulawayo road towards Kwekwe.
“Two other witnesses saw the security vehicle passing through Connemara and stopping at a shopping centre for unknown reasons which are now subject to investigation. This clearly indicates an element of an inside job and dishonesty on the part of the security guards,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Investigations by the police have revealed that Mapfumo is the kingpin of the staged robbery. He is said to have worked closely with Luwizhi and went on to pick up notorious criminals in Bulawayo.
Sibusiso Ngwenya, Mandla Ncube, Nqobile Moyo, Khumbulani Nyathi and another only identified as King were picked up in Bulawayo after agreements on the robbery and sharing of money were thrashed out.
“The criminals were picked up as if the Fawcett company vehicle was pirating. This included two women who were going to Gweru. On arrival in Gweru, the suspects were dropped in the Central Business District together with the two women as the guards went to collect US$1 100 from Fawcett Gweru.
“After collection, the Fawcett team went on to pick their accomplices whom they had earlier dropped in the Gweru Central Business District,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The robbery is said to have been staged at the 243km peg on the Harare-Bulawayo road between Connemara Open Prison and Hunters Road Shopping Centre.
The robbers then used a Honda Fit which was following them from Bulawayo as a getaway car after loading the cash and also taking away the security company’s pistols.
Ncube is said to have then delivered US$18 000 to Luwizhi’s wife in Bulawayo as part of Luwizhi’s share, but the police have since recovered the money.
The police are appealing for information which may lead to the arrest of the remaining suspects. They have also urged security companies to properly vet their employees and put measures in place to curtail theft of clients’ money by staff
Source Bulawayo 24