Media Commission Staffer Acquitted; Had Been Charged With Illegal Entry Of American Reporters

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO Regional Magistrate Mark Nzira Thursday acquitted Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) official Thabang Manhika of charges of breaching sections of the Immigration Act.

Manhika, who was being jointly charged with New York Times Correspondent Jeffrey Moyo, was being accused of assisting two American journalists Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva to illegally enter the country and promising them temporary press cards despite the fact that the scribes had been denied entry by the ministry of Information, Broadcasting Services and Publicity.

At the close of trial, Manhika, through his lawyer Lison Ncube made an application for trial exception, arguing that the charge against him does not show that he committed the crime.

Following the application, the state two weeks ago indicated that it intended to amend Manhika’s charges, and the magistrate gave the state up to yesterday to amend the charges.

The state however failed to amend the charges leaving the Magistrate with no other option except to acquit the ZMC staffer.

“It is unfortunate that the case took a lot of resources and wasted my time, but I knew at the end of the day that I was innocent. I am very excited that I have been cleared of any wrongdoing,” said Manhika soon after the ruling in an interview with

Lawyers representing Moyo have also indicated that they intend to file an application for discharge after the state closed its last month also arguing that the state failed to prove its case against the accused.

Avumen Khupe prosecuted.