Crime & Courts Zimbabwe

Rushwaya, accomplices bail ruling moved

Henrietta Rushwaya

Nyore Madzianike

Senior Court Reporter

HENRIETTA Rushwaya, Pakistani businessman Ali Mohamad, Central Intelligence Organisation operatives — Stephen Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya — and miner Gift Karanda, will spend another five nights in custody after their bail ruling was moved to Monday.

However, there is a possibility that magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna could make the ruling before the end of day tomorrow if he manages to go through all their submissions today.

Mr Nduna said he will inform the quintet’s lawyers through the State on whether he will be able to make a bail determination before end of day tomorrow.

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Lawyers representing Tserai, Mufandauya and Karanda submitted their written closing submissions yesterday.

Mr Admire Rubaya made submissions on behalf of Tserai, Mr Joshua Chirambwi represented Mufandauya while Mr Dumisani Mtombeni appeared for Karanda.

Tserai, in his submissions, asserted that Magistrates’ Court was slowly becoming a passage to superior courts when it comes to bail applications.

He said there was a worrying trend of those appearing at the Special Anti-Corruption Courts being treated differently from those appearing in ordinary courts.

Tserai said the trend casts a misconception that those appearing before special anti-corruption court facing corruption or politically related offences were bound to be denied bail.

He said magistrates sitting in these courts should be mindful that the principles and laws of bail applications have not been muted by the administrative decision to create the special Anti-Corruption Courts.

“The court should be therefore slow to bask in an imagined or real zeal to advance a common euphoria associated with executive programmes of ruthlessly dealing with corruption while forgetting to abide with time honoured legal precepts governing the device of bail in a democratic society.”

The five are expected back in court on Monday for bail ruling.

“With due respect to these courts the applicant asserts that the real concern is that Magistrates’ Court is slowly being turned into a departure lounge en-route to the superior court because one is sure-footed of being denied bail by the magistrates’ court and once bail is denied he has to pray that he goes to a superior court as fast as possible where there is a belief that justice gets dispensed in a better manner and chances of being released on bail pending trial are higher,” he said.

The five are expected back in court on Monday for bail ruling.

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Mr Rubaya said there was need for the courts to exercise their independence to maintain confidence in the justice system.

Mufandauya, through his lawyer Mr Chirambwi, said he was a suitable candidate for bail since the State failed to construct a case against him.

Mr Chirambwi told the court that the State failed to give strong grounds supported by evidence to deny him bail and offered to pay $20 000 as bail coupled with other conditions.

He said he was prepared to report to the police twice a week to allay the State’s fears that he will abscond.

“It seems clear that this matter had been misconstrued by the State and that the social media attention given to it created a false narrative of a syndicate without determining the personal circumstances of each and every individual.

“Against the 4th accused (Mufandauya), there can be no reason for an honest denial of bail. The State case was horribly weak. In fact, it was a mess,” he said.

Karanda, through his lawyer Mr Mthombeni, told the court that he was a proper candidate for bail as there was no evidence given to prove that he committed the alleged offences.

He said that no witness, including his co-accused, had ever said that the First Lady was the owner of the said gold.

“Nothing incriminating or linking applicant to any of the accused in relation to this case was retrieved from his phone after the police unlawfully seized his phone on Wednesday October 28, 2020.

“Applicant was never caught on CCTV allegedly committing any of the offences notwithstanding the fact that he had appeared and visited Henrietta Rushwaya at RGM International Airport after she was arrested,” he said.

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The five are expected back in court on Monday for bail ruling.

HERALD