Suspects in diamonds heist acquitted

MASVINGO - A Mutare pair which allegedly attempted to steal diamonds at  Chinese-owned Nan Jiang Resources Mine in Bikita has been set free by a Masvingo magistrate due to lack of incriminating evidence.

Masvingo regional magistrate Judith Zuyu on Wednesday acquitted Lazarus Birima, 33, and Francis Ruzariro, 29, after the State failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

Ruzariro and Birima, who were represented by Rodney Makausi of Saratoga Makausi Law Chambers, were also acquitted of charges of illegally possessing ammunition.

The two denied charges that they were involved in a failed attempt to rob diamonds at the Chinese-owned mine in Bikita.

This was after they were found in possession of AK 47 assault rifles and ammunition police claimed were used in the botched heist.

In their defence, the pair told the court the police never recovered anything from them that linked them to the diamond robbery at Nan Jiang. They denied being found in possession of ammunition and Luke Dube’s car that is still at large.

Prosecutor Moblessing Rusere had told the court the two went to Nan Jiang Mine in Bikita intending to rob diamonds armed with three rifles, 30 rounds of ammunition, a bolt cutter, shifting spanner and seal straps.

Upon gaining access to the mine premises, the State alleged the pair tied security guards manning the mine complex with seal straps and proceeded to the diamond floor sorting room looking for gems.

The pair allegedly found nothing in the room and took away three radio sets worth $300 that were never recovered.

Police claim they recovered two vehicles used in the foiled robbery in the pair’s possession, while rounds of ammunition were found at their home in Mutare.

But both denied the charges and successfully convinced the court there was no evidence linking them to the robbery, leading to magistrate, Zuyu to acquit them.

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