Prominent Land Developer Acquitted In Bribery Case

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By Mary Taruvinga

LAND developer Felix Munyaradzi, who is also Delatfin Civil Engineering chief executive officer, has been acquitted of bribery charges by the High Court.

Munyaradzi was accused of bribing a top cop Thomas Mabgwe with residential stands to avoid prosecution over his pending criminal cases.

But High Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi ruled that Munyaradzi did not commit any crime as alleged.

“It is ordered that the decision of the magistrate on September 2029 under CRB 108/20 be and is hereby reviewed and set aside,” said the judge.

“The placement of the applicant on remand be and is hereby revoked on the basis that the facts as presented by the state do not constitute a criminal act,” ruled Chitapi.

The State was alleging that Mabgwe, who is attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters, was allocated two residential stands in Sandton Park, Mt Hampden, in September 2015 to cover up and offer protection to Delatfin Investments owner Felix Munyaradzi’s alleged illegal land deals.

Mabgwe was last arrested on the same charges but the High Court in granting him bail also stated that the offence was not clear.

Justice Pisirayi Kwenda said: “In my view the allegations of bribery are far-fetched. The facts as presented to me are weak and the trial court ought to have taken that into account,” ruled Kwenda.

“I am satisfied that the trial court misdirected itself in failing to appreciate that the allegations did not disclose the offence. I am not told that the appellant was investigating the Delatfin matter neither was the CID. I do not see how in the circumstances there would be any need to bribe him,” he said.

“State, what went wrong here? What wrong did the appellant do? I know you have preferred bribery but what is it that he was supposed to do that he was bribed not to do? I am trying to find a connection between the appellant and the crime that Delatfin was committing.”

The state alleged Mabgwe was given a bribe by Munyaradzi in his capacity as Delatfin CEO to protect the businessman from pending criminal charges.

Munyaradzi had filed an appeal with the High Court after Harare magisrate Marehwanazvo Gofa dismissed his exception application.

The businessman had argued that the allegations against him do not constitute an offence.

He argued that magistrate Gofa erred I. finding out there was nexus between him  the offence.

Munyaradzi said the magistrate also erred by attributing the conduct of Delatfin to him in circumstances where it was the company that dealt with Mabgwe…”as such criminal liability could not be attributed to me,” he had argued.