FIVE men who were in May arrested in dramatic style by the Criminal Investigations Department detectives at a local hotel on allegations of trying to buy ammunition without authority appeared before a Bulawayo magistrate yesterday.
Report by Khulani Nkabinde
The five, Romeo Mangwaira (38), Shashirika Mushaninga (54), Samson Munikwa (36), Amos Mazhambe (48) and Martin Padya (44) made headlines in May when they were apprehended by armed detectives. They first appeared in court on May 30. Appearing before magistrate Mark Dzira for the second time, the five were charged with contravening Section 4 (a) of the Firearms Act Chapter 10:09 and Section 189 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as well as Section 28(1)(c) of the same Act Chapter 9:23.
They, however, deny the charge and have all pleaded not guilty.
Their lawyers argue in their line of defence that the five wanted to buy mercury and not ammunition.
According to the State, the accused were allegedly looking for grenades and landmines “preferably made in Germany or France to buy” before they were arrested by detectives from the CID Law and Order section after receiving a tip- off on April 23. A trap was then set.
On April 28, according to the State, Mazhambe allegedly contacted the informant and told him that buyers of the grenades had arrived in Bulawayo from Harare.
“Mangwaira, Mushaninga and Munikwa were then lured to a local hotel, where they informed the trap that they were looking for grenades and landmines,” the State alleges. “The trap handed over a dummy hand grenade to Mangwira. Mangwira then started moving outside the hotel so that he could inspect the grenade away from the public. They were then arrested by detectives and the dummy grenade was recovered. Mangwira implicated his accomplices who were in possession of $850 meant for the purchase of the ammunition.”
Dzira remanded the five, who are out of custody on $100 bail each, to July 12 for continuation of trial.