US$2,7m bank heist: Mhondoro man jailed 5 years

A MHONDORO man, who saw his neighbours digging a pit and hiding US$100 000 which was part of the loot from a US$2,7 million bank heist and dug it out before going on a spending spree, has been jailed. 

Tichaona Njowa allegedly saw his uncle Shadreck, the mastermind of the raid on a cash-in-transit van in January this year, and his son Job dig a pit and hide the money at their rural homestead. 

In the early hours of the following morning, Tichaona dug up the money and went on a spending spree in Ngezi where he bought two vehicles and booked in different lodges. 

After he was arrested, the police managed to recover US$15 6000 while the rest of the money had been spent.  

Tichaona was yesterday convicted of theft by the Harare Magistrates’ Court and sentenced to five years behind bars. 

He will serve an effective three years after two years were suspended on condition of good behaviour. 

Prosecutors were able to prove that on January 18, Job and Shadreck went to their rural home in Mhondoro with the intention of hiding the US$100 000. 

The duo dug a pit in front of their kitchen and stashed the money in a pot before wrapping it with a plastic bag and covered it. 

Prosecutors said that while Job and Shadreck were in the process of hiding the money, Tichaona, saw everything. 

Then at around 4am the following morning, Tichaona went to the spot where the money had been buried and dug it up. 

He was allegedly spotted by another villager Luxury Nakumwa whom he bribed with US$5 000 to buy his silence. From there on, Tichaona went on a spending spree in Ngezi where he was sleeping in lodges and buying cars. 

He first bought a Honda Fit using the loot and only drove it for four days before the car developed a mechanical fault. 

Tichaona dumped the vehicle and bought another Honda Fit before continuing with his lavish spending. 

This is when police received information regarding Tichaona’s opulent spending, leading to his arrest. 

The police only recovered US$15 600 from Tichaona and a further US$4 900 from Nakumwa, who had only spent US$100 from the hush money.