AN Insuza businessman has been arrested on charges of robbing an Esigodini mine owner of cash, gold ore and property all valued at US$40 800.
BY DARLINGTON MWASHITA
Mehluli Ncube (39), who is popularly known as Aka Mamba, is alleged to have committed the offence in the company of five other suspects, four of whom are still at large.
Ncube was not asked to plead to armed robbery charges when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Lizwe Jamela on Wednesday and was remanded in custody to January 22.
It is the State's case that on June 21 last year, Peter Jonathan Pretorius, who resides in Famona, Bulawayo, arrived home from his Petrel Four Mine in Esigodini.
He was approached by Ncube, who was in the company of Fungai Mpofu, Nqobizitha Nyathi, Prince Mpumelelo Dube, Mgcini Ndlovu, who are still at large, and Robson Chatikobo, who is in custody.
The accused allegedly pointed a pistol at Pretorius demanding cash and gold.
They allegedly grabbed Pretorius and took him to the back door of the main house, struck him with a crowbar, and he hit his head against a step ladder.
It is alleged that they gagged him with a webbing belt, strangled, tortured and forced him to disclose where he kept his cash and gold.
They went to the main door and pointed a gun at Pretorius's wife, Kerry Lyn Swain, before assaulting her with a crowbar, forcing her to show them where the gun cabinet and cash safe were.
The accused took the safe containing 1kg of gold ore sample and cash amounting to US$30 000, including necklaces, three cellphones and two gold rings.
On June 22 at 6am, detectives were tipped off that the stolen firearm's certificate was at Ncube's residence and follow-ups were made.
Ncube's brother, Peter Marewo, was questioned and he implicated the businessman and his accomplices as the ones who brought the firearm certificate for a Sako rifle and cash safe.
On the same day, the detectives received information that there was a firearm dumped along Old Khami Road near the veterinary offices.
When they got to the place, they recovered the stolen Sako rifle.
On June 23, members of the police in Pumula found a stolen vehicle parked at Ntemba bus stop in Pumula North.
Police then learnt that Ncube resided in Insuza, Matabeleland North province, and visited his homestead, but were told that he had gone to South Africa.
The law enforcement agents then recovered six necklaces belonging to Swain and US$900 at his home.
His wife, Georgina Sibanda, was present when they were searching the house.
The total value of the stolen property was US$40 800 and only US$8 000 was recovered.
Ncube was arrested later after he returned from South Africa.
Source: African News Agency