‘Dead’ 14kg Gold Smuggler Resurfaces
The chief suspect in the 14-kilogramme gold case that happened in Plumtree in 2018 has been arrested.
Police in Bulawayo arrested Jefat Chiganda (54) last Wednesday in Emakhandeni after he allegedly sneaked into the country from his hideout in South Africa.
The 2018 cold case also resulted in the arrest of nine other suspects that included a magistrate, prosecutor, lawyer, police officers and Johane Masowe congregants back then.
Chiganda skipped bail last year and his lawyers, Nyikadzino, Simango and Associates, told Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, in court, that he was dead although they could not produce a death certificate.
A warrant of arrest was immediately issued and more than a year later, Chiganda was arrested in Bulawayo.
He appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Evangelista Kabasa on Thursday and was immediately commuted to prison pending finalisation of the gold case.
Chiganda had other warrants of arrest after two pending cases, one of which he was convicted by a Bulawayo magistrate and sentenced to four years in prison.
He appealed to the High Court and was granted bail but also defaulted on his bail conditions.
In one of the cases, Chiganda was arrested on 7 July 2018 in possession of 14kgs of the gold in a Botswana bound train.
According to prosecutors, Chiganda was in the company of Sidingumuzi Ncube, a police officer at Plumtree who, however, ran away from the train after discovering that they had been cornered by Zimbabwe Revenue (ZIMRA) officials.
It later emerged that Chiganda was allegedly working with a lawyer, a magistrate, a prosecutor, police officers, and business people to release the gold which they later sold to Fidelity Refiners and Printers for nearly US$400 000.
Those who were arrested regarding the same case were Plumtree regional magistrate Timeon Tavengwa Makunde, area public prosecutor Stanley Chinyanganya, prominent Harare lawyer Admire Rubaya, three police officers based at Plumtree-Ncube, Tyson Ruvando and Ginger Vhiyano.
Two other police officers from the Minerals and Border Control, Ladislous Tamboonei and Ladislous Tinacho were also arrested together with Chaganda and Godfrey Makuvedze who are members of the Johane Masowe eChishanu sect.