Serial escapee Moyo jailed

2013-03-25 16:38

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Serial escapee Bogani Moyo and a fellow bank robber were handed lengthy prison sentences for robbing six banks in six weeks.

The High Court in Pretoria today sentenced Moyo (30) to 62 years imprisonment and Khumbulani Sibanda (32) to 55 years on 15 charges, including racketeering, bank robbery, and escaping from custody.

The two Zimbabweans admitted to robbing six banks in Pretoria, Rustenburg, Boksburg, and Roodepoort of almost R268 000 in April and May 2011.

Their robbery spree started after they escaped from the Boksburg prison with the help of warders a month earlier.

Judge Natvarlal Ranchod said he hoped the culprits had already been brought to book, as it was totally unacceptable that those tasked with preventing escapes actively assisted prisoners to escape.

He said there was already an unacceptably high level of xenophobia in the country and the accused’s indulgence in criminal activities certainly did not help the situation.

The court rejected their claims that they had never planned to use their firearms during the robberies.

“In my view, the fact that no shots were fired was merely fortuitous.

“If loaded firearms are brandished during a robbery one cannot but conclude that they would have used it if they had met with more resistance,” he said.

The judge said video footage of the robberies showed Moyo slapping and kicking a guard and the two jumping over a counter and threatening staff with violence when they met some resistance.

Ranchod said none of the victims, apart from the guard, were physically harmed, but he had to take into account that their psychological trauma could last longer than any physical trauma.

“Members of the community have a right to conduct their business affairs in banks and other businesses without constant fear of being victims of armed robberies.

“Robberies are prevalent in the community and are not just restricted to banks.

“If an offender is a danger to society, the court has a duty to protect society against him,” the judge added.

Aggravating factors were that semiautomatic firearms were used and that the robberies were meticulously planned while the two were in prison for other offences.

Both claimed they were motivated by the financial suffering of their families in Zimbabwe, but Ranchod said they had already embarked on a life of crime long before they started planning the series of bank robberies.

Sibanda is already serving sentences of 30 and 15 years’ imprisonment for two previous armed robberies.

Moyo is serving time for illegal firearm possession and escaping from custody at the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court and the Pretoria Central Prison.

Ranchod rejected their claims of remorse, saying their guilty plea appeared to have been motivated by the state’s strong case against them rather than genuine remorse.

Both accused indicated they intended appealing against their sentences.

Two further accused, Leon Ncube and Sibanda’s brother Thabani, will go on trial separately later this year.

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