Suitcase full of cash stolen from Mugabe

Robert Mugabe

Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addressing the media on the eve of the first election following his ouster

Robert Mugabe addresses members of the press at his home Blue House in Harare, Zimbabwe, a day before the polls.

The suspected thieves, Constancia Mugabe (50), Johanne Mapurisa (50) and Saymore Nhetekwa (47), were granted $2000 bail each after they appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate Felix Mawadze yesterday facing theft charges.

Constancia Mugabe had keys to Mugabe's rural house in Zvimba, outside Harare, allowing the others, who were employed as cleaners, to gain full access to the property when the theft occurred sometime after December 1 previous year. Their alleged co-conspirator Saymore Nhetekwa, also a cleaner at the house, spent his on a vehicle, pigs and cattle.

Up to that point, he had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president. In theory, the local "bond notes" that banks dispense are equal to the U.S. currency - but in reality they buy much less.

USA dollars are highly prized in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe's whereabouts is unconfirmed since late November when President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his successor, said the ailing 94-year-old was in Singapore for medical treatment and was now unable to walk.

It is unclear if he was at home while the theft took place.

News that the Mugabes had such a large amount of cash in their home will likely raise eyebrows in a country where ordinary citizens are struggling to get money from banks.

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