- August 8, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
A member of a violent machete gang which terrorised gold panners at Mavhunga Mine-Rapids Farm in Bindura late last year and early this year stealing gold ore, cash and accessories has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Eckson Mamhute (29) of house number 748 Chipembere Street in Chipadze was part of a six-man gang whose other members are still on the run.
He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of robbery when he appeared before Bindura provincial magistrate Mr Tinashe Ndokera.
He was convicted on five counts after witnesses in the last two counts failed to come to court to testify.
All the five counts were treated as one for the purpose of sentencing. He will serve an effective five-year sentence.
In passing sentence, Mr Ndokera said the offences were pre-planned and calculated.
“Violence and cruelty was used by the accused as they pushed their victims into three metre deep mine shafts and attacked them with stones to keep them from coming out,” he said.
“The gangs also used dangerous weapons, which include machetes, knives and catapults to attack the complainant. Robbery is prevalent and there is need for a deterrent sentence.”
Prosecutor Mr Clement Kuwanda told the court that on December 28, 2019 the gang approached Mavhunga Mine-Rapids Farm in Bindura at around 3am.
The six, who were armed with machetes, catapults and knives and woke up Nigel (29) and Nathaniel Mutungwiza (24), Benjamin Gukwe (18), Blessed Kanhukamwe (17) and Munyaradzi Johanisi (30) while they were sleeping in a cabin.
Mamhute and his accomplices ordered the complainants to lie down on their stomach and threatened to shoot them with catapults and strike them with machetes.
They searched the complaints and stole their cellphones and cash. The five were force marched to a mine shaft and pushed into it. Other members of the gang started shooting at them with stones using catapults to stop them from coming out.
They loaded gold ore in their getaway car and sped off. On January 1, this year the gang went to Willcliff Mine at Avoca Farm in Bindura at around 2pm.
They met Simbarashe Mukando whom they asked for a job and were advised that the mine was closed because of the holiday.
They left and returned at around 7pm claiming that they had left their umbrella. They started attacking the complainants and tied their hands and legs before calling for a vehicle to load gold ore _The Herald