Oswell Moyo Chronicle Reporter
THE Agribank branch at Maphisa which was robbed on Tuesday reportedly operates without security cameras and has no automatic doors to control movement of people. Chronicle visited the bank yesterday and observed that there are no security guards at the bank during the day.
Agribank’s retail banking executive for the southern region Divine Ngwenya who declined to speak to Chronicle on Tuesday, yesterday said the robbers got away with $31,000 and R46,000, not $100,000 as earlier estimated.
The bank’s head of security Elliot Gunguwo could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of office.
A member of the neighbourhood watch committee at Maphisa, Khangelani Greatman Ndebele claimed the bank was simply asking to be robbed given the lax security measures at the branch.
“How can a bank operate without a camera in this modern age? In light of the fact that people tried to rob it last year, it is shocking that they do not have security guards” said Ndebele.
Ndebele alleged that the burglar alarm at the bank malfunctioned most of the time.
Another resident who refused to be named said: “It is worrisome that a bank like Agribank entertains a lot of funny stuff such as giving people change which shows their laxity and relaxation.”
Detectives arrested one of the three suspected armed robbers, Gift Moyo, barely two hours after they had robbed the bank.
“They were on the bank of a river and appeared to be counting the money. When they saw detectives approaching they fled in different directions. Gift was pursued and caught but the other two got away,” said a police source close to investigations.
Moyo was positively identified by his victims and appeared before a Gwanda magistrate facing armed robbery charges yesterday.
The suspects allegedly robbed the bank at about 2PM. They locked the bank tellers and a woman who was making a withdrawal in a vault before escaping with the loot.
Officials at the bank’s headquarters in Harare told Chronicle on Tuesday that the trio went into the bank just after lunchtime and pretended to be making transactions.
Armed robbers have struck at least four times at Maphisa Growth Point in the last two years.
They hit Delta Beverages twice and raided Spar and Maphisa Filling Station.
Agribank is wholly owned by the government. The Ministry of Finance holds 50 percent shares in the bank while the other 50 percent is owned by the Ministry of Agriculture.