ZIMBABWE – A 43-Year-OLD Bulawayo man was yesterday sentenced to 30 years in prison for carjacking and kidnapping.

Mussa Denge of Magwegwe suburb was arrested in Chivhu and a police officer was accidentally fatally shot during the process to apprehend him.

Denge targeted people selling cars via social media platform Facebook. He would send them messages masquerading as a prospective buyer and then lure them to secluded places under the guise of a test drive.

Denge was convicted on his own plea to three counts of robbery by regional magistrate Mr Mafios Moyo.

He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment but will serve an effective 18 years in prison after 12 years of the sentence were suspended on condition he is not convicted of a similar offence in the next five years.

Passing sentence Mr Moyo said what was aggravating was that Denge kidnapped two of his victims.

He however said what was in Denge’s favour was that he pleaded guilty and therefore did not waste the court’s time.

Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa said Denge robbed Mr Nqobizitha Mpofu, Ms Caroline Ndlovu, who is a former Chronicle employee and Ms Sacher Thomas of their vehicles between April 2019 and February 2020.

In the first count, Denge robbed Mr Mpofu of his Mercedes Benz C200 sometime in April 2019. He dumped him at Khumalo aerodrome.

“Sometime in February 2019, complainant advertised his silver Mercedes Benz for sale by inscribing his numbers on it. On the 29th of April 2019, the accused person responded by phoning the complainant purporting to be a miner from Inyathi and the two agreed to meet in the city. They then met along Five Street outside Parkade Centre and the accused person requested to have a test drive. While driving near Khumalo aerodrome, the accused person opened the bonnet and asked the complainant to close it. He then tried to drive away but the complainant clung onto the passenger door and they wrestled until the complainant gave in,” said the prosecutor.

In the second count, Mr Manyiwa said sometime in August 2019, Denge dumped Ms Ndlovu in a bushy area along Old Victoria Falls Road near the United College of Education and drove off with her Honda Fit vehicle. He also robbed her of her cellphone.

In the third count, Denge robbed Ms Thomas of her blue Toyota Wish, cellphone, US$400 and R500.

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