MASVINGO – Four robbers who kidnapped Masvingo businessman Obvious Nhokovedzo and his wife Rutendo Ndega before dumping them into a 20-meter-deep disused mine tunnel have been sentenced to 22 years in jail each.
The four, Shepherd Chinhara (44), Needmore Chipoterwa (28), Kudakwashe Nyashanu (37) and Edson Donza (26) were convicted by Masvingo Regional Magistrate Bishard Chineka two weeks ago after being tried on armed robbery and attempted murder charges.
Nhokovedzo and his wife were discovered by a member of the public the next day but Ndega was already dead.
Prosecutor Liberty Hove said the offenders were dangerous to society considering that the robbery was planned way back.
“They commenced their criminal life at the deepest end. They came all the way from Harare with a criminal enterprise and they were determined to kill their victims. Society should be protected from offenders of such caliber,” argued Hove.
The robbers were represented by Joseph Chipangura of Mutendi Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners.
The four assaulted Nhokovedzo and drove away in his Nissan Caravan with groceries worth ZWL$87 960, R800 cash, $15 000 in Eco Cash, $500 000 and US$4 000 in bank cards.
The trial which ran from May to September had many witnesses, including police officers and clients from Harare who bought the stolen goods. The robbers pleaded not guilty and created a fictitious person known as Nyasha Sango as the offender.
On January 14, 2021 the four kidnapped Nhokovedzo and took all the groceries he had in his Nissan Caravan. Later that evening, they threw the couple in a 20m deep shaft in target kopje. His wife died while in the pit and he survived until he was rescued the following morning.
The gang was caught five days later in Harare driving Nhokovedzo’s car.