Senior Court Reporter
Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna yesterday dismissed Harare City Council’s acting town planner, Fani Machipisa’s bail application on the basis that he may compromise investigations since some of the witnesses that the State is relying on are Harare City Council employees.
This emerged in court yesterday when Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna was dismissing Machipisa’s bail application, in a case in which he is facing two counts involving illegal parcelling of stands in Harare.
Although Mr Nduna shot down the State’s assertion that the lengthy jail term that Machipisa faces upon conviction might force him to abscond trial, he said it was in the interests of justice to bar him from interfering with investigations.
“The State said accused was likely to face up to 15 years in jail upon conviction. It is also clear that under the same provision the accused maybe sentenced to a fine. The State did not give the circumstances under which the worst or maximum sentence can be given. Any sentence can be imposed and that cannot be a ground of opposing bail.
“The court has noted that most of the witnesses are from the City of Harare and that some documents are at his offices. There might be a risk that he would interfere with investigations,” said Mr Nduna.
The State led by Mrs Constance Ngombengombe had opposed bail saying he was likely to interfere with witnesses since investigations were still in their infancy.
Mrs Ngombengombe had also said Machipisa was likely to abscond once freed since there is overwhelming evidence against him.
Through his lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Machipisa told the court that he would not abscond as the State does not have enough evidence against him.
Machipisa is expected back in court on October 26, 2020 for routine remand.
Meanwhile, Nziradzinengwe Taurai and Tatenda Selemani, who were also facing charges of illegally parcelling out stands in Mufakose, Harare, were yesterday released on free bail by the same magistrate.
Nziradzinengwe and Selemani are being charged with fraud after they allegedly parcelled out stands belonging to an organisation, Youth in Business, to unsuspecting home seekers.