TWO Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe security guards acquitted a fortnight ago of assaulting Munyaradzi Kereke’s driver were on Thursday found not guilty on a separate charge of “disorderly conduct”.
The decision to split the two trials over the same incident was criticised by defence lawyers for the two men – Phillip Dendere, 47, and George Nyahuye, 36 – at the close of the state case on Wednesday.
Dendere and Nyahure faced charges that they tailed the former adviser to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, who was being driven by his personal chauffer Privilege Maturure, until he returned to his Rock Foundation Medical Centre in Harare out of concern for his personal safety.
The two RBZ security guards – who told their trial they were under instructions to recover a vehicle which Kereke had not surrendered after being sacked from the apex bank – denied charges that they had blocked entry at Kereke’s medical facility and assaulted his driver.
They were acquitted on the assault charge two weeks ago after a magistrate heard that Maturure had produced a faked assessment of his injuries from the alleged assault.
After a trial lasting two days, magistrate Tendai Mahwe on Thursday granted a defence motion for the dismissal of the disorderly conduct charges after finding that no crime had been committed.
“The fact that Dendere and Nyahure drove behind Kereke does not constitute disorderly conduct, neither is it a crime. They were driving just like other drivers so there is no offence there. The state failed to prove commission of an offence,” Mahwe said.
Mahwe also dismissed prosecution claims that the two men had blocked the entrance to Kereke’s medical facility, saying witness accounts were inconsistent and therefore unreliable.
Defence lawyer Advocate Lainos Mazonde was critical of the prosecutors for pursuing the charges even after the assault case was thrown out by another magistrate, Kudakwashe Jarabini.
Mazonde said: "I don’t understand why the charges were split because they are just the same and there was no new evidence to substantiate these ridiculous charges of disorderly conduct.”
Over the course of the two trials, the court heard how the ultimate target of the prosecutions was Gono.
A nurse who was asked to impersonate a doctor and sign a medical report exaggerating Maturure’s alleged injuries revealed that he had been promised thousands of dollars if the two security guards had been convicted, which would have seen Gono and the Reserve Bank being hit with a huge lawsuit.