Failed gold heist gang walks free
SIX men accused of attempting to rob a miner of 47kgs of gold worth over $1,8 million in Kwekwe, yesterday walked free after a magistrate ruled that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them.
Franco Celia Pullen, Chemist Sibanda, Munyaradzi Charakupa, Zadzisai Mutambi, Farai Sibanda, and Vengai Simari heaved a sigh of relief as Midlands Provincial Magistrate, Mrs Phathekile Msipa, dismissed the State’s application to have them put on remand.
Pullen (43) of Kwekwe, Charakupa (40) of Harare, Mutambi (34), Sibanda (43) Farai (21) and Simari (38) all of Kadoma, had pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted robbery through their legal representative, Mr Thomas Militao.
The six were alleged to have attempted to steal the gold which was being taken to Fidelity Printers and Refineries in a delivery van on behalf of Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises.
Mr Militao argued that Pullen was the rightful owner of the mining concession where the gold originated from and therefore he could not have sought to rob himself.
He said the accused had a prospecting licence from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and was therefore the rightful owner of the mine. The lawyer said Pullen was a victim. In her ruling, Mrs Msipa said the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development created the mess when it issued two licences to both parties.
“The State failed to place facts to justify that there were reasonable grounds that the accused persons had committed the offence. What we have here before the court is a scenario that has been caused by officials from the Mines and Mining Development who have issued two documents to two people. This has resulted in the dispute we have. The accused placed immutable evidence before the court to demolish facts placed by the State which was alleging that they committed the offence,” she said.
“The issue of ownership of this mine can’t be resolved now but can only be clarified by the Ministry of Mines. I find no bases to place the accused on remand because the State failed to discharge its duty whilst the accused has managed to do so, accordingly the State’s application is hereby dismissed.”
Prosecutor, Mr Emmanuel Mathose said the complainant is Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises led by Mr Armstrong Mapanga (44) of Kwekwe.
He said on July 12, the complainant through his company Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises was given a mining certificate to mine at Dandrum Mine North.
On July 17, Mr Mathose said, Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises started operations at the mine and extracted a substantial amount of gold ore which they took to Combustion Tech Company in Kwekwe for processing.
“On July 18 and at around 1PM, Vansburg Drumgold Enterprises being represented by Armstrong Mapanga finished processing the gold ore and produced 47,5kgs of gold which he then loaded into his Isuzu Twin Cab intending to transport it to Fidelity Printers and Refineries in Kwekwe,” he said.
Mr Mathose said Pullen waylaid the complainant along the way to Fidelity Printers and Refineries, Kwekwe.
“Accused number one then charged towards the complainant’s motor vehicle. Upon arrival he hit the complainant on the chest with a fist and tried to forcefully open the complainant’s car intending to take away the 47,5kg of gold bullion, but failed as Armstrong Mapanga locked the doors in the process,” he said.
The Prosecutor said the complainant quickly alerted the police.