Crime & Courts

US$2,7 million ZB Bank heist mastermind arrested

The mastermind behind the ZB Bank US$2,7 million and $43 000 heist which occurred in January last year at Gwebi River Bridge along the Harare-Chirundu Road has been arrested in Harare after being on the run for nearly two years.

Shadreck Njowa was arrested at a house in Highfield where he has been hiding.

His arrest comes after a team of detectives from CID Homicide in Harare received information that Njowa was hiding at a house he used to reside. A raid was carried out leading to his arrest.

Sources close to the investigations said Njowa is still in custody and is assisting with investigations.

Recently, the local financial institution offered a US$5 000 reward for leads that might result in the arrest of Njowa and his two other accomplices who were believed to have been part of the gang that robbed the bank.

The other two are Patson Matengambiri and Nyasha Chitera.

The trio were in the company of 11 other gang members who have since been arrested and the matter is still pending before the court.

The robbery of the US$2,7 million and $43 000 from a cash-in-transit ZB Bank vehicle was believed to have been an inside job where three security personnel in the vehicle allegedly connived with robbers.

The three security staff – Nomatter Jonga (43), Mathew Simango (66) and Fanuel Musakwa (34) – were arrested and have since appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

The State alleges that on January 6, 2021 at around 11.30am, the three were tasked to carry seven boxes containing US$2 775 000.

This cash was to be ferried to ZB branches – Chinhoyi US$75 000, Kadoma US$25 000, Kwekwe and Gweru US$150 000 each, Bulawayo US$200 000, Gwanda US$50 000 and Zvishavane US$100 000.

They were travelling in a Toyota Hilux single cab with a canopy, secured with a tracker and emergency panic button. The initial allegations given in court were that the three hatched a plan to steal the money and connived with six others.

It is alleged that Jonga, Simango and Musakwa picked three unknown suspects at the Westgate roundabout in Harare and drove to Inkomo tollgate where they collected a box containing $43 090, which was supposed to be deposited at the bank, and then picked up three more men at Inkomo Barracks turn-off as they drove towards Chinhoyi.

Upon reaching the 60km peg, Jonga stopped the vehicle and a fake robbery was staged.

The State alleges that an Isuzu twin-cab immediately arrived at the scene with people who were armed with pistols.

Jonga, Simango and Musakwa surrendered their pistol and rifle before driving their Toyota Hilux for about 900 metres where the gang offloaded the cash boxes into the Isuzu which then drove off.

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