By Staff Reporter
MUTARE: Anglican Diocese of Manicaland Bishop Eric Ruwona who is facing multiple charges of swindling his church out of US$700 000, was Wednesday granted $15 000 bail by a local magistrate.
The cleric appeared before Mutare magistrate Tendai Mahwe in the Special Anti-corruption court and was ordered to report once every week at Mutare Central Police Station, continue to reside at his given address and not to interfere with witnesses.
In granting Ruwona bail, Mahwe said the State had failed to provide compelling reasons why the accused should be denied his constitutional right to freedom.
Ruwona was represented by Ashelle Mutungura of Mutungura and Partners and Passmore Nyakureba and Kubaya of Maunga and Maanda Legal Practitioners.
He is denying the charges.
Ruwona is reported to have defrauded the Manicaland diocese of US$700 000 after he converted to personal use, three loans from Agribank which he applied for under false pretext.
Prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasira said the cleric, on three occasions, withdrew funds from Agribank and converted the money to personal use.
The loans were mortgaged against church property as collateral. He is also accused of borrowing money from the bank to purchase a personal vehicle using church property as collateral.
Ruwona converted the car loan to personal use.
The matter was postponed to January 29.