ED’s ally Tapfuma’s bail appeal dismissed

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By Mary Taruvinga

INCARCERATED former top aide to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Douglas Tapfuma’s bail appeal has been dismissed.

Tapfuma is serving four years effective for criminal abuse of office after he was convicted for evading duty for a fleet of vehicles.

He was the principal director in the department of state residences.

High Court judge Pisirai Kwenda ruled that Tapfuma failed to present strong reasons regarding why he felt he should be freed pending appeal.

“A person should remain in custody if his or her release on bail pending trial will undermine or jeopardise the objectives or proper functioning of the criminal justice system,” he ruled.

“The proper functioning or credibility of the bail system demands that a person sentenced to imprisonment should remain detained in custody until he or she is dealt with in accordance with the law in circumstances where he or she has no reasonable prospects of success on appeal against either conviction or sentence.”

Kwenda said without determining appeal at this stage, the legal position was that bail ceases to be a right after a conviction.

The judge however agreed that the issue of forfeiture of the controversial vehicles was arguable on appeal.

He ruled the trial court did not give detailed reasons for the forfeiture.

“It is debatable whether the vehicles were means with which the appellant committed the crimes or whether they are proceeds of crime,” he said in his ruling.