FOUR suspects who were acquitted in the ZB Bank money heist case which made headlines two years ago will have their forfeited money reimbursed.
The four are Trymore Chapfikwa, Tozivepi Chirara, Dennis Madondo and Tatenda Gadzikwa.
They filed an application for disposal before Harare magistrate, Clever Tsikwa ruled there was “no justification for the State to keep the money when there is no longer a case against the four.”
The amount to be reimbursed is US$234 000.
The prosecution had protested the release of the funds arguing that there was no evidence to prove that seized money did not belong to the bank.
“The cash before this court as an exhibit cannot be lawfully possessed by the applicants.
“They did not provide proof of the source of their ownership. In this inquiry of whether an exhibit can be claimed by an accused, the accused has an onus to show that they are entitled to the money.” said prosecutor Loveit Muringwa.
The four were jointly charged with Shadreck Njowa, Tendai Zuze and Neverson Mwamuka who were convicted on Friday.
Njowa, Zuze and Mwamuka await their sentencing on Wednesday.
Prosecutors proved Njowa the kingpin of the heist and had been hiding in South Africa before coming back into the country in November 2022 assuming the dust had settled.
Njowa and his accomplices robbed US$2,7m and ZW$43 090 that was in the commercial bank’s transit truck headed for seven branches across the country in January 2021.
The security crew and the gang then staged the robbery along the Harare-Chinhoyi highway just after Nyabira Business Centre.
They had reportedly armed themselves with pistols, knives, and three vehicles which they used to carry the cash in transit.
One of the guards, Fanuel Musakwa, transporting the money was in contact with the heist crew.
Court heard the guard requested the driver to pick up some of the accomplices as passengers before they stole the money.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Muringwa has submitted the State’s aggravation urging the court to impose a harsher sentence for the convicted trio.
“The crime had a negative economic impact on the complainant and resulted in reasonable material or economic loss.
“The complainant is in the banking business, the loss of such vast amounts of money certainly had a negative impact on their business as income was lost because of the lack of cash that could have been circulated to its clients earning it the much-needed interest. Wherefore the State prays that the accused be heavily sentenced of the charged offense of robbery as aggravation factors outweigh the mitigatory factors,” he said.
The three will submit their mitigation Tuesday. New Zimbabwe