A NOTORIOUS land baron and Zanu PF Harare South district youth leader Gerald Rutizirira (35), was this week arrested for playing a starring role in the infamous US$2.5 million cash heist in Gwebi last week, Zim Morning Post can report.
Rutizirira is part of the eight member gang who allegedly worked in cahoots with three ZB Bank cash in transit security personell namely Nomatter Jonga, Matthew Simango and Fanuel Musakwa.
Rutizirira is popular in his neighborhood of Southley Park (Amstredam), famed for his political activism and alleged parcelling out of illegal residential stands in Harare South.
Upon his arrest, Rutizirira was found in possession of USS$ 96 100 and he had also bought a recently imported Toyota Hiace Omnibus. The vehicle cost a minimum of US$10 000 on the market.
“Gerald is one of the cool land barons here. He was quiet and sold his stands in Ushewekunze area.
“He always had challenges with double allocating stands but he was decent and I am shocked with his arrest.
“The only time I remember when he had a near violent confrontation was when he tried to overlap his land deals into Southlands.
“A chief baron there called Bigman came here and made noise,” revealed a Southley Park resident who preffered anonymity.
According to the police, Rutizirira’s red Toyota Hilux double cab was used as the getaway car to transport the loot.
“They loaded the cash in a red Toyota Hilux double cab which drove off with some of the accomplices,” submitted investigation officer identified only as Inspector Chipwazo.
It is further alleged that Rutizirira tried to conceal the crime by changing the colour of the getaway car to white.
Upon his arrest the paint was still wet. The youthful land baron and his accomplices appeared before Harare Magistrate Judith Taruvinga on Tuesday, answering to a charge of Armed Robbery as defined in Section 126(1)(a) (b) of the Criminal Law(Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9.23.
State, led by Linda Gahadzikwa opposed bail on grounds that the accused posed a flight risk and were likely to interfere with investigations.
Five of the accused were remanded in custody to February 17, while the other three were sent back for further detention.
Police successfully applied for a warrant for further detention citing that they were still following up on indications that could lead to possible recovery.
So far police have recovered US$456 000 and vehicles including a white Toyota Hiace, Charcoal grey Baby Quantam, Toyota Lexus and Honda Fit all purchased from the loot.
From the recovered money, US$38 000 was recovered from one Kelvin Musakwa, a brother to one of the three ZB bank security details also implicated in the heist.
Circumstances are that on January 6, the three security details were assigned to deliver cash to different branches and were travelling in a Toyota Hilux Single Cab with a canopy and panic button.
The trio picked three passengers at Westgate and after passing the Inkomo tollgate, they allegedly removed one box containing ZWL43 000.
They then drove towards Chinhoyi and picked three more passengers.
On the 60km peg, they stopped the car and the passengers purpotedly manhandled the trio in a suspected staged robbery.
The ‘passengers’ produced some guns and shot twice in the air, it is alleged.
At that point in time, a red Toyota Hilux double cab driven by Rutizirira came on the scene and the boxes of money were offloaded in the car and it sped off.
The three ZB security details then raised alarm of a robbery.
Police is however in possession of evidence that proves communication on physical geographical location between the ZB bank trio and the alleged accomplices. The ZB trio is caged and returns to court on February 18.