Two soldiers convicted of armed robbery were each jailed by a Zimbabwe Defence Forces general court martial for 40 years, with five years suspended if they give back the money they stole in the robbery committed two months ago.
Lance Corporal Tatenda Dzimbanhete and Trooper Wilfred Munesi pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery which they committed on 15 November 2021 at Surrey Farm near Marondera.
Besides their jail terms, Dzimbanhete was reduced in rank to private, and Munesi was reduced to first year trooper, both the lowest ranks possible, before they were dishonourably discharged from the defence forces.
In a statement, yesterday, ZNA director Public Relations Colonel Alphios Makotore said: “Two soldiers, members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lance Corporal Dzimbanhete Tatenda and Trooper Munesi Wilfred were on 19 January sentenced to 40 years imprisonment each by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Court Martial for armed robbery.”
Five years of each sentence was suspended on condition that they restitute Simon Arnold of Surrey Farm near Marondera the US$16 830 and R600 that a gang of six – the two soldiers and four civilians, stole at gunpoint after shooting and injuring Mr Arnold.
The six robbers, armed with an AK47 assault rifle and a pistol, raided the home of Surrey managing director Mr Arnold on November 15 last year, whom they shot and injured before taking the money, three pistols and other valuables.
They sped away in an unmarked Toyota Wish.
Military chiefs have expressed concern over the rising number of armed robbery cases involving members of the defence services and have made it clear that they will hunt down those involved in crime and deal with them.
Two other soldiers last month appeared in a civilian court facing charges of murder and armed robbery after they got away with US$40 000 in a heist at a Hatfield house in Harare.
In a statement early this month, Brigadier-General Augustine Chipwere of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces expressed the army’s regret at the deaths of people in incidents involving members of the military.