POLICE have busted an elaborate syndicate of suspects that have illegally traded in more than 50 guns, including two officers stationed at the Zimbabwe Republic Police armouries in Harare and Chinhoyi.
Some of the weapons have been used to commit violent crimes such as armed robberies, which are on the increase countrywide.
The two officers at the centre of the scandal, William Nhata (35) of 9631 Southview Park, Harare, who worked at the ZRP police national arms’ depot in Harare and Constable Crive Kadambure who was based in Chinhoyi have been arrested.
Kadambure (42) who was stationed at the Mashonaland West Provincial Armoury in Chinhoyi was recently arrested for dealing in more than 40 high-calibre weapons.
Kadambure was arrested with his alleged accomplices Wonder Tawanda Kwaramba (36), who is an ex-police officer and a civilian Edmore Manuwere (28), with police saying the trio worked as an organised firearms syndicate.
Police documents in possession of The Sunday Mail say:
“Detectives received information to the effect that there was a criminal syndicate dealing in illegal firearms. The information was that during the period from January 2019 to date, the above accused were working as an organised criminal syndicate dealing in firearms. The accused persons would then approach registered firearms dealers across the country where they purchased forty-four high calibre rifles.
“The accused working as a syndicate went on to obtain fake firearm certificates with fake serial numbers and references. Armed with those fake certificates they would obtain the purchased firearms from the registered dealers.
“Thereafter the accused sold to or traded the firearms with poachers and armed robbers both inside and outside the country. Acting on the information, the detectives managed to arrest the three accused persons in Harare, Bulawayo and Chinhoyi. The team managed to obtain firearms registers from registered dealers and established the accused person had made several purchases.”
Kwaramba is also involved in another case, in which he is accused of dealing in firearms with Taona Javangwe (43) of Nkulumane suburb in Bulawayo.
Upon his arrest early this month, Javangwe, who is charged with being in possession of two firearms illegally, implicated Kwaramba.
Nhata was arrested last week and appeared in court on Wednesday, charged with fraud and contravention of the firearms act.
Police documents show that Nhata is suspected of having illegally traded in firearms since October 2019.
The police records read:
“On October 29, 2019, accused who is a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police attached at ZRP National Armoury was approached by the complainant Simon Mandicheta Nr 42-020505-L-34 of Plot 31 Wesly South Nyabira intending to buy a firearm for the purposes or crop and livestock protection. The accused person then told the complainant that he was selling a .22 FN rifle serial number 63861 for US$350 and was shown the rifle which was at the National Armoury.
“The complainant paid the money for the rifle and the accused was given a form FR 11 to process the firearm certificate so that he would collect the rifle by the accused. On 8 October 2021, the complainant approached the accused who was at his workplace intending to collect the firearm since he had acquired the firearm certificate for the rifle. The complainant then discovered that the accused did not have any rifle which he was selling. On October 18, 2021, complainant reported the matter at Harare Central leading to the arrest of the accused.”
Another suspect is Patrick Chirara (42) of 2240N Chiedza road Karoi, who is facing eight counts of illegally dealing in firearms, which had fake certificates.
Police records say Chirara sold the guns to armed robbers.
(The Sunday Mail?