Musa Taj Abdul
Musa-taj-abdul.jpg
BornMusa Taj Abdul
NationalityZimbabwe
Other namesSalim Rahman
Known forArmed Robbery
Criminal chargeNine cases of armed robbery[1]
Criminal statusIn custody


Musa Taj Abdul is Zimbabwe's most wanted armed robber. Abdul is believed to have been arrested in South Africa but was released with the help of his police connections. He is also believed to be wanted for questioning in Botswana over a number of robberies.

Background

Musa Taj Abdul is known by a number of names which include Salim Rahman.[1] He was once convicted in 1995 for tampering with a motor vehicle.[2] A publication, Sunday Mail established that Musa Taj Abdul's given address of 23 Down Street Barham Green, Bulawayo is non-existent. Barham Green residents interviewed by the publication said Abdul never lived in the neighbourhood.

Preliminary investigations by the same publication indicated that Abdul could have grown up living in Arcadia, Harare before he left for an unknown address. [3]

Arrest

Warrants of arrest for Taj Abdul dated back to 1999, with further warrants in 2005 and 2006. His accomplices on the other hand had warrants outstanding from 2018 and 2019.[2]

Musa Taj Abdul was arrested in Beitbridge on 24 August 2020 after being on the run for over two decades and masterminding a spate of criminal activities. He was arrested in the company of seven other accomplices.[4]

The accomplices were; Liberty Mupamhanga, Prince Makodza, Godfrey Mupamhanga, Charles Lundu, Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi, Innocent Jairos, and Tapiwa Mangoma.

Abdul and his gang were being harboured by a police officer Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa who was also arrested during the raid.

Abdul, Mupamhanga, Makodza, Lundu and Munatsi incurred some injuries from dog bites during a tussle with the police. They were taken to Beitbridge District Hospital for treatment.

Police recovered a silver Noringo pistol with an obliterated serial number and a magazine with 11 live rounds, 19×12 bore gauge live rounds in a webbing belt placed in a black satchel stashed in a washing basket, and a pair of number plates AEX 1577. They also recovered a black face mask (balaclava) was found stashed in their getaway car. [1]

Investigations by the Zimbabwe Republic Police established that Charles Lundu and Prince Makodza had fake identification cards bearing the names Enock Rimuwa and Paddington Matira respectively. It was not clear how the two suspects acquired those IDs with members of the CID Homicide approacing the Registrar-General’s Office to assist with investigations on the fake IDs.[2]

When police raided Abdul's gang in Beitbridge four members of his gang escaped. Those who escaped are Abednigo Dhlamini and Elias Mpofu, alias Jabulani or Obasanjo, who are believed to have crossed into South Africa as well as Brian Murape and Carlington Marasha who were suspected to be still in Zimbabwe. Police roped in the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) and their counterparts in South Africa and Botswana to assist in locating the four.[5]

Gang Members

Apart from Musa Taj Abdul the gang consisted of:

  • Liberty Mupamhanga
  • Prince Makodza alias Paddington Matira
  • Godfrey Mupamhanga
  • Charles Lundu alias Enock Rimuwa
  • Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi
  • Innocent Jairos
  • Tapiwa Mangoma alias Tapa a police officer stationed in Beitbridge
  • Abednigo Dhlamini
  • Elias Mpofu alias Jabulani or Obasanjo
  • Brian Murape
  • Carlington Marasha

Robberies

Abdul and his gang are linked to nine cases of armed robbery. One of the cases occurred on December 20, 2019 at Wessel Shop in Msasa, Harare, where Musa Taj Abdul and his gang disarmed a security guard and stole a special Amadeo Rossi revolver, $160 000 and an Isuzu KB240 single cab vehicle.

On February 5, 2020, the gang allegedly went to Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza, armed with pistols, an AK47 rifle and robbed unsuspecting business owners of US$19 000, $30 000, cellphones and a Toyota Allion vehicle, which was later found abandoned in Glen View.[4]

Abdul is also linked to Mashwede, Blue Circle, Glen Norah B safe, Trauma Centre robbery, and the Marlborough shoot-out murder.[1]

Trial

Abdul and his gang made an initial appearance at the Harare Magistrates Court on 28 August 2020 facing nine counts of robbery.[2]

The accused appeared before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti who remanded them in custody to September 10. She advised them to apply for bail at the High Court.[6]

Bail

On 14 December 2020, Musa Taj Abdul and his two co-accused Godfrey Mupamhanga and Rudolf Tapiwa Kanhanga were granted bail by High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero.

Adbul and Mupamhanga were granted $5 000 bail each while Kanhanga was released on $2 000 bail. As part of their bail conditions, the trio were ordered to reside at their given address and report to the police every Friday between 6 am and 6 pm until the matter has been finalized. [7]

May 2021

In May 2021, Musa Taj Abdul's bail application was dismissed by the High Court.

Taj Abdul’s application came after his two other accomplices, Liberty Mupamhanga and former Masvingo Central Police Officer Rudolf Kanhanga alias Tapiwa Munatsi, also approached the High Court seeking bail. Both their applications were dismissed and they remained in custody.

Taj Abdul’s application was dismissed by High Court judge, Justice Webster Chinamora.

Two of Abdul's suspected accomplices out on bail, Spicer Takawira and Musafare Mupamhanga, were issued with warrants of arrest after failing to turn up in court on April 28 2021.[8]

New Charges

Before Abdul and his co-accused could post bail money, police brought up fresh charges against the suspects and requested that they remain in custody pending their remand hearing on the new charges and further investigations.[9]

Sentence

On 16 June 2021, Musa Taj Abdul and eight of his co-accused were found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and sentenced to three years in jail.

Musa Taj Abdul, Liberty Mupamhanga Prince Makodza, Godfrey Mupamhanga, Charles Lundu Rudolph Kanhanga, Innocent Jairos, Tapiwa Mangoma and Carrington Marasha were jailed when they appeared before magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko.

They had initially been jailed for four years each before a year was suspended for five years on the condition that they do not commit a similar offence.[10]

Pictures

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Freeman Razemba and Thupeyo Muleya, Most wanted armed robber Taj Abdul, 7 accomplices arrested, The Herald, Published: August 26, 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Taj Abdul expected in court, The Herald, Published: August 28, 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  3. High noon for Zim’s most wanted criminals, The Sunday Mail, Published: September 13, 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  4. 4.0 4.1 Taboka Ncube, Notorious armed robber, Musa Taj Abdul arrested, ZBC, Published: August 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  5. JUST IN: ZRP ropes in Interpol, The Herald, Published: September 1, 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  6. Mary Taruvinga,Notorious Robber, Taj Abdul, 8 Other Dangerous Criminals Denied Bail, NewZimbabwe.com, Published: August 29, 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  7. Ivan Zhakata, JUST IN: Notorious armed robbers granted bail, The Herald, Published December 15, 2020, Retrieved: December 15, 2020
  8. Freeman Razemba, Taj Abdul bail appeal dismissed, The Herald, Published: May 20, 2021, Retrieved: May 31, 2021
  9. Ivan Zhakata, Suspected robber Taj Abdul granted bail, remains in custody, The Herald, Published: December 16, 2020, Retrieved: December 16, 2020
  10. Nyore Madzianike, Taj Abdul gang gets 3 years each, The Herald, Published: June 17, 2021, Retrieved: June 19, 2021