THE ex-soldier, turned armed robber, allegedly involved in a botched attempt to rob a family from Lobengula West in Bulawayo of US$23 000, is a philanthropist known for sponsoring grassroots soccer around the country and is also father to a gifted soccer player who turned out for Highlanders Football Club.
Ian Sibanda (53) of Emganwini suburb yesterday appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Shepherd Munjanja charged with attempted robbery and contravening Section 4 (1) of the Firearms Act, Chapter 10;09 (purchasing, acquiring or having in possession any firearm or ammunition without holding firearm certificate).
Sibanda is reportedly the brains behind the formation of the now-defunct Emganwini’s Amazon FC which played in the lower rungs of the Zifa Southern Region leagues.
The former soldier is also the chairman of Emganwini Legends, a social soccer team which is home to ex-How Mine goalkeeper Nonjabulo Dube.
Sibanda, a well-known Highlanders fan, allegedly teamed up with Learnmore Kwari, who is still at large, to rob the Matshazi family that wanted to buy a house from Kwari’s in-laws.
Due to the nature of his alleged crime, Mr Munjanja did not ask Sibanda to plead guilty and he remanded him in custody.
Kwari is the son-in-law to the family that wanted to sell a house to the Matshazi family and is alleged to have tipped Sibanda that there were easy pickings of up to US$23 000 that could be gained through an armed robbery before it was delivered to his in-laws.
The duo was unaware that the family had not yet received the money from South Africa.
The State’s case, as presented by the prosecutor Mr Terrence Chakabuda, is that on November 10 around 6.30 PM Sibanda who was with Kwari, drove a BMW vehicle, registration number ADB 6150, and parked it near Mrs Livia Matshazi’s house.
The two forcefully gained entry into Mrs Matshazi’s house.
They allegedly went to the sitting room where the elderly woman was seated with her granddaughter Chantal Matshazi. Sibanda allegedly pulled out a pistol from his waist and pointed it at Mrs Matshazi, demanding money.
However, the complainant’s grandson, Mr Brandon Matshazi, who was in a spare bedroom, heard the noise and he allegedly armed himself with a golf club and proceeded to the sitting room where he struck Sibanda before he disarmed him. Kwari allegedly fled from the scene after seeing his colleague being overpowered.
The BMW vehicle which had its tyres deflated by angry residents was impounded and is being kept at Magwegwe Police Station as an exhibit.