in the news

Makandiwa’s church pays ransom


Makandiwa's church pays ransom

A Kwekwe man was yesterday slapped with a 10-year jail sentence for kidnapping a four-year-old girl at Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church service in the town and later demanding a US$40 000 ransom.

Andrew Musarurwa (23), Rumbidzai Chimimba (20) and a 17-year-old boy, all of Kwekwe’s Mbizo high-density suburb, were arrested a few days after receiving the money and releasing the child.

Musaruwa pleaded guilty when he appeared before Kwekwe regional magistrate Mr Amos Mbobo facing charges of contravening section 93 (3)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.

Mr Mbobo suspended two years on Musarurwa’s sentence on condition of good behaviour, while Chimimba and the 17-year-old boy were remanded in custody after they pleaded not guilty.

The kidnapped child belonged to a prominent Kwekwe businessman.

The circumstances were that on Sunday last week, the three kidnappers went to UFIC church at New Mining Museum Hall at around 1.30pm where they kidnapped the girl.

They then hired a getaway car which they used to ferry the girl to Gokwe where they kept her at their hideout.

After the church service, the girl’s parents searched for her but their efforts were in vain, prompting them to report the matter to the police.

The following day, the kidnappers made a call to a member of the church demanding the details of the girl’s mother. They then made another anonymous call to the girl’s parents demanding a ransom of US$40 000.

Police investigations revealed that the call was being made within the 10km radius of the Mbizo Econet booster, but the mobile phone number was registered in the name of a resident of Dombotombo suburb in Marondera.

On Tuesday last week, the girl’s mother then called the kidnappers informing them that she had raised the required amount.
They gave her directions to a storm water drain at a 20km peg along the Kwekwe-Mvuma road where she was supposed to drop the money and was advised not to bring the police or any other person.

At around 1pm, the girl’s mother went and dropped the money at the said point before informing the kidnappers. After an hour, the kidnappers called to inform her that they had seen the money and that they would make arrangements to return the child.

At around 9pm, the kidnappers called the girl’s mother to collect her daughter at a fast food outlet in Kwekwe where she found her eating some food bought by the kidnappers.

The kidnappers then went to Gweru where they bought a Nissan Caravan before driving to another hideout house in Nkulumane suburb in Bulawayo. The police made a follow-up with the assistance of members of the public and went to Gokwe where the kidnappers had kept the girl while demanding the ransom.

The police discovered some photos of the three kidnappers before proceeding to Gweru after the call history of the kidnappers had linked them to a subscriber in Mkoba Village 10 suburb. The police also traced another phone number which the kidnappers were using and discovered that it belonged to a subscriber from Tshabalala in Bulawayo.

Relatives of the three provided police with the address where they were staying in Bulawayo.

On Monday, the police went to Bulawayo where they waylaid them before arresting Chimimba who they found in the house.
Musarurwa and the 17-year-old boy were arrested later.

Police recovered US$10 200, a Nissan Caravan, BMW sedan, king-size bed, three-piece kitchen unit, wardrobe, four-plate stove, Telefunken LCD television set, refrigerator and several clothing items all valued at US$20 000 which were suspected to have been acquired using the ransom money.