Menzi Primary school robbery: Case postponed to probe legal status of suspects

2019-01-21 16:45
Menzi Primary School in Tsakane (Deon Raath, Netwerk24)

Menzi Primary School in Tsakane (Deon Raath, Netwerk24)

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Two of the four foreign nationals, accused of robbing the state-of-the-art school Menzi Primary School in Tsakane, are in South Africa illegally, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court has heard.

The prosecution also wants to verify the legal status of the remaining two.

The men made a brief appearance in court on Monday and the case was postponed to give the State time to probe the men's legal status.

Ekurhuleni police arrested Ernest Khan Awasi, 36, Hyaginth Cho Mulul, 29, Fan Terrance Bonung, 24, and Fonga Muama Mohammed, 40 - all from Cameroon - during an intelligence-driven operation last week. Equipment, believed to have been stolen from the school, was recovered on Friday at a store in Johannesburg.

READ: 4 suspects arrested in connection with robbery at state-of-the-art Menzi Primary School

It emerged in court on Monday that Mulul's papers had expired and that Mohammed did not possess any relevant travel documents.

While Awasi and Bonung were in possession of the necessary documents, the state wants to verify the authenticity of their papers.

The case was postponed to January 29.

It is alleged that the men entered the school premises in the early hours of Tuesday morning and found two security guards, tied them up and locked them in the strong rooms.

They then allegedly broke the main vault door to access the keys of the entire school and headed to the administration block and IT offices, where tablets were being charged.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi condemned the incident and said the department would work with law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.

"These are educational facilities, aimed at enhancing the quality of education and life of children in the township. We are extremely disappointed that criminals can disrupt the education of learners in this community."

He urged members of the community to assist and help hunt the robbers down, "failing which, we will have no choice but withdraw all expensive equipment from the said school," Lesufi said at the time.

READ: State-of-the-art Tsakane school robbed of tablets, laptops, TV and cash

According to the police, 22 tablets and three laptops were recovered when the men were arrested.

The primary school was robbed just a week after Lesufi opened the R105m facility and asked Tsakane residents to look after it.

Items stolen included 185 tablets, eight laptops, two projectors, three desktop computers, a plasma TV and R500 in petty cash.

Police said investigations to recover the stolen items were ongoing and more arrests were expected.

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Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  crime
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