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Robber who stole a man’s ID card at Mbare Musika 26 years ago nabbed

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IN April 1998, Anceloti Musengi went to the Mbare Musika bus terminus intending to travel to his rural home in Chirumhanzu, Midlands province, for the Easter holidays.

Then a sprightly 23-year-old man, he jostled for a place on the bus with other travellers after paying his fare.

Unfortunately, during the melee, he lost his wallet, which contained his national identity card, and bank and medical aid cards, as well as cash.

He only got to replace his ID card when he returned to Harare.

In a dramatic turn of events, Musengi, who is employed by a renowned local financial institution, was to recover his original national identity card a fortnight ago after revelations that an armed robber, who was convicted at the Mbare Magistrates’ Court, had been using it for the past 25 years.

The notorious criminal, Norman Sithole, only confessed moments before he was sentenced by magistrate Mr Batanai Madzingira that the name appearing on the State papers was not his.

Sithole had admitted to 35 counts of armed robbery committed along Seke Road.

Although he did not tell the court how he had ended up with Musengi’s ID card, he confirmed that he got the identification particulars at Mbare Musika in 1998.

This prompted the State — led by Ms Janet Mlambo — to institute further investigations, which established that the convict was indeed telling the truth.

Sithole was subsequently slapped with a 40-year jail term.

The court suspended three years and nine months on condition of good behaviour.

It also set aside another five years and five months on condition that Sithole pays back all the people he had robbed.

This means he will ultimately serve a prison term of 30 years and 10 months. His alleged accomplice Walter Mapfumo, who denied the charges, is on remand awaiting trial.

The duo’s reign of terror ended recently when they were nabbed in Harare after robbing a local mechanic, Maurice Musiiwa, of US$250 and a cellphone.

On the day of the robbery, at around 8pm, Musiiwa was driving a Mercedes-Benz C240 from Harare’s city centre to Chitungwiza along Seke Road.

He slowed down to negotiate a pothole near the Delport turn-off and Mapfumo pretended to stumble and fall in front of his car, forcing him to stop.

When Musiiwa disembarked from the car to find out what was happening, Mapfumo picked himself up and used a knife to force him to surrender all his belongings.

Sithole and Mapfumo then frisked Musiiwa and robbed him of an Itel cellphone and a wallet with US$250.

Police investigations led to the recovery of an Itel S23, which had been sold to Mavis Nyambala, who later led police to Sithole, who, in turn, implicated Mapfumo as his accomplice

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