Mutsvangwa, co-accused sent to Remand Prison awaiting bail finalisation

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By Mary Taruvinga

Neville Mutsvangwa, son of Zanu PF bigwigs Monica and Christopher will spend the weekend behind bars after his bail hearing was pushed to next week.

Mutsvangwa is jointly charged with Ellis Majachani and Simbarashe Tichingana on charges of money laundering and dealing in foreign currency.

Mutsvangwa is again accused of breaching the Telecommunications Act.

The trio appeared before Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi who remanded them in custody awaiting finalisation of their bail hearing next week.

Appearing for the State, Thomas Chanakira opposed bail submitting that the suspects were facing very serious offences.

Chanakira, said the offence, especially Money Laundering is very serious as the law provides that if convicted an accused will be supposed to pay a fine exceeding ZiG500 000 or an amount equivalent to the property involved and imprisonment of 25 years or both a fine and imprisonment.

The penalty for the first count allows the court to impose an imprisonment or sentence it deems fit.

“This goes to show how serious the offences are,” he said.

“The accused are a flight risk. Mutsvangwa has already demonstrated propensity to flee and this warrants his incarceration pending trial.

“When a team of detectives visited his place of residence in Mt Pleasant to arrest him, they were initially denied entry.

“They had to seek the assistance of ZRP Marlborough and were again denied entry into his premises.

“The police officers had to apply minimum force and gained entry into the premises by cutting the electric fence and scaling the gate.

“The officers conducted searches but could not find him.

“They continued searching the whole yard only to find Mutsvangwa hiding in-between the security wall and some sacks stashed with waste materials.

“There is no justification why he was hiding. There is no justification why he was not cooperating with the police. That is indicative of his unwillingness to stand trial.

“It sufficient indication that if given a chance, the accuses will flee the jurisdiction of this court to avoid trial,” he said.

Chanakira said the court should not take a chance in admitting the accused to bail as this would be tantamount to licensing them to abscond.

Chanakira also said Majachani and Tichingana do not deserve bail.

He said Tichingana misrepresented to the police that he was a neighbour when in actual fact they connived together with Majachani and Mutsvangwa to establish a company Mumba Money Transfer.

“We submit that the accused have connections and interests outside Zimbabwe as evidenced by foreign bank accounts that they hold.

“An Estonian identity card was discovered from Mutsvangwa so the State is of the belief that if granted bail the accused will evade this court’s jurisdiction,” said the prosecutor.

He also urged the court to take a judicial notice on the porousness of borders stating that people can easily travel even without required documents.

He said 10 visa cards from South Africa, three from Zambia, one from Mozambique were recovered which strengthens their fears of abscondment by the suspects.

The Prosecutor also said there is likelihood of interference with witnesses and investigations because among the gadgets they seized was cellphones, laptops, simcards, and POS machine and debit cards, which if released, the accused will wipe all the data away, even without being in physical posession of the gadgets.

He said the suspects will know the whereabouts if the witnesses in their case by relying on cash registers and might intefer.

Some witness statements are yet to be recorded.

The investigating officer Blessing Mandizha supported State’s submissions confirming that it was difficult to arrest Mutsvangwa.

He said they had obtained a warrant of search and Seizure but Mutsvangwa shut them out.

“When I pressed the intercom I was answered by Mutsvangwa’s wife. I could hear a male voice in the background giving instructions,” he said.

Mandizha said the wife came and recorded his name force number and car registration stating that she was going to verify if the officers were genuine or not.

They were made to wait for 45 minutes before being denied entry.

They then went to Marlborough police station and brought an officer who was in uniform but still refused until the officer in charge Marlborough police station was brought to the scene.

Still entry was denied forcing the officers to use force.

Mandizha said they waited for more than four and half hours before they did so.

Mutsvangwa was then found hiding in trash.