Cop nailed in $2 mil­lion di­a­mond theft

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Wim­bainashe Zhakata Post Re­porter

A PO­LICE de­tec­tive and his Nige­rian ac­com­plice who duped a li­cenced di­a­mond dealer of pre­cious gems worth over US$2mil­lion have been slapped with a four year jail-term.

Good­hope Mavhen­geri (42), a Bu­l­awayo-based crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions depart­ment of­fi­cer and Ti­nayi Mu­da­vanhu (32) from Mutare’s Chikanga high-den­sity sub­urb learnt the hard way that crime does not pay when Mutare provin­cial mag­is­trate, Mr Tendai Mahwe sen­tenced them to four years im­pris­on­ment each.

They were sen­tenced last Fri­day.

The pair was con­victed of fraud, theft and con­tra­ven­ing the Pre­cious Stones Act - charges they had been fac­ing since June 2008.

Mavhen­geri and Mu­da­vanhu had been deny­ing the charges but they were con­victed af­ter a full trial.

The State led by pub­lic prose­cu­tor, Mr Cuth­bert Bhosha, pro­vided over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence which war­ranted a con­vic­tion. The di­a­monds weighed 275 carats.

“Mu­da­vanhu was ap­proached by the com­plainant, Ma­garet Nyan­dura, who was look­ing for di­a­mond buy­ers. Mu­da­vanhu ap­proached Crime­son Dza­pasi, an in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer with the ZRP who then in­tro­duced him to a Nige­rian na­tional who pur­ported to be the di­a­mond buyer.

“Mu­da­vanhu, Dza­pasi, and the uniden­ti­fied Nige­rian buyer to­gether with their ac­com­plices who are still on the run went to Nyan­dura’s res­i­dence some­time be­tween May and June 2008 with an in­ten­tion to buy the said di­a­monds,” said Mr Bhosha.

The court heard that Mavhen­geri pur­ported to be the Nige­rian buyer and while at Nyan­dura’s place of res­i­dence, two men ar­rived and told Mu­da­vanhu and the two other ac­com­plices that they were un­der ar­rest for deal­ing in pre­cious stones.

“This ar­rest was a ploy for the sus­pects to get hold of the di­a­monds. The po­lice of­fi­cers then took

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Mu­da­vanhu and his ac­com­plices in­di­cat­ing that they were go­ing to the po­lice sta­tion leav­ing Nyan­dura be­hind.

“Mu­da­vanhu later came back with 36 pieces of di­a­monds which Nyan­dura re­fused to take ar­gu­ing that she wanted all her 275 carats that she had given him,” said Mr Bhosha.

In her tes­ti­mony, Nyan­dura who is a holder of a valid di­a­mond deal- er’s li­cense told the court that she ap­proached Mu­da­vanhu and asked him to look for di­a­mond buy­ers for her since he was well-versed with di­a­mond buy­ers in the city.

She also said she promised to give him a to­ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion if he brings the buyer.

Nyan­dura fur­ther in­di­cated that the deal was botched be­cause of two men who ar­rived and in­di­cated that she and the oth­ers were un­der ar­rest, but sur­pris­ingly left her at her home and took the di­a­monds with them.

Mr Mahwe sen­tenced the duo to 4 years im­pris­on­ment.

He how­ever, sus­pended one year on con­di­tion of good be­hav­iour for the next five years. They will each serve an ef­fec­tive three years im­pris­on­ment.

They were be­ing charged with con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tions 136, 113 (1) and 3(1) of Pre­cious Stones Trade Act Chap­ter 21:06.

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