MASVINGO- Seven daring robbers hijacked a truck laden with boxes of cigarettes in transit to South Africa at a police controlled roadblock along the Masvingo Beitbridge Road, a local court heard.
Benard Zvarova, Trymore Chimbambo, Maxwell Kadziwe, Joe Partosn, Tatenda Gorombe, Samuel Dickson and Gift Kujowo allegedly misrepresented themselves as detectives at a police controlled roadblock during the heist.
Police have since arrested Kujowo, while six of his accomplices are still on the run.
Kujowo appeared before Masvingo Magistrate, Ivy Jaoma and was remanded out of custody to 31 January on $500 000 bail.
Prosecutor Godknows Mangodo told that court that on 21 November last year the seven monitored a truck which was being driven by a South African national, Gladman Tlou loading 562 boxes of Remington Gold and Chelsea cigarettes at two different tobacco firms in Harare.
The daring gang then followed the truck, which was heading to Beitbridge, from a distance using their unregistered Toyota Hilux and an Itego truck.
Upon reaching the 54km peg along the Masvingo Beitbridge road, the truck containing the cigarettes was intercepted by a police officer who was manning a roadblock in the company of VID Masvingo depot officials.
“Whilst the police officer was attending to the complainant’s truck one of the accused persons disembarked from the Toyota Hilux and approached the police officer.
“He identified himself as a detective who was on a follow-up of the truck together with his colleagues,” the prosecutor said.
After the conversation with the police officer, one of the accused then advised the driver of the truck containing cigarettes that he was under arrest for carrying prohibited goods.
“One of the accused persons then jumped into the complainant’s truck and ordered the driver to make a U turn heading back to Harare
“On their way the driver was told to surrender his cellphone and was told that they (the robbers) are negotiating a bribe from the real owner of the consignment to secure his release,” Mungoda said.
When they reached Chatsworth at around midnight, one of the robbers ordered the driver to park the truck and told him to go into the Toyota Hilux which was following behind.
“The driver was then told that he would meet up with the truck in Harare as they had to be at Harare Central Police Station before sunrise to process his papers.
“When the Toyota Hilux was not on sight, the Itego truck came and loaded all the boxes from the complainant’s truck and headed back to Harare,” said the prosecutor
The driver of the truck was later ordered to return back to his vehicle after travelling for 2 km in the Toyota Hilux.
When he returned, he found that the truck had been tampered with and all the cigarette boxes were missing.
A police report was made and investigations led to the arrest of Kujowo