A police officer is among six people arrested for the robbery murder of a Marondera businessman on September 23. Paul Chimoka, 62, was shot dead after armed gunmen stormed his home at around 2AM before tying up his family while demanding cash. Chimoka ran a bricklaying company in the Mashonaland East capital. On Tuesday, police announced a breakthrough in the investigation after several homes were raided in Harare and Marondera. Constable Crispen Kado, a 26-year-old police officer stationed at Rhodesville in Harare was among those arrested.
Police are also holding Jeremiah Tafirenyika, a supervisor at Manyame Milling Company in Marondera who is believed to have supplied the robbers with targets. Other suspects were named as Josephat Muchenje, 58, Bright Magodhi, 22, Felix Dapi, 50, Tatenda Mudzungairi, 27 and Elias Muchipuwa, 41. Police said the suspects are linked to six other cases of armed robbery in Harare, Macheke and Chitungwiza. Bafflingly to investigators, one of the suspects – Tafirenyika – reported being robbed earlier this year. “The ZRP will ensure that the law takes its course without fear or favour,” national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said as he hailed citizens for “supplying critical information on armed robbery cases in the country.”
Nyathi said on September 26, police acting on a tip-off arrested Muchenje at his home in Marlborough in Harare. They recovered a white Nissan AD vehicle allegedly used as a getaway vehicle at the crime scene. Police also found two cutting discs. Muchenje gave up his accomplices, leading to the recovery of four 9mm rounds of ammunition inside Kado’s wardrobe at his residence in Tafara. Police say they have established that the gang also committed six other robberies. Investigators say the gang was behind the June 10, 2022, armed robbery at a homestead in Macheke where they stole two guns, two TVs, and various groceries all valued at US$3,595.
In the same month, police say the gang attacked a family in St Mary’s in Chitungwiza where they made off with US$1,775, R1,000, a laptop and several mobile phones. Police say on July 26, the gang struck again at another house in St Mary’s after posing as police officers searching for dangerous drugs. They took US$4,500 and several mobile phones. On September 15, they allegedly robbed Rakodzi High School in Marondera, seizing laptops, food rations and small amounts of cash.
On September 18, they allegedly pounced on a house in Mt Pleasant where they stole US$55,000, mobile phones, clothes and a South Africa-registered Toyota Fortuner which was later recovered dumped at the intersection of Harare Drive and Mazowe Road. Police say Dapi was wanted on a warrant of arrest after skipping court on charges of possession of dangerous drugs and armed robbery cases dating from 2021. “He is also under the microscope for a fraudulent bail application at the High Court through a public prosecutor who is also under investigations,” Nyathi said.