Gushungo bombing case collapses

A HARARE magistrate yesterday granted an application of exception of charges filed by two military intelligence officers, Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, who were accused of trying to petrol-bomb the former First Family-owned property, Alpha and Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Makumbe and Pfupa, who were represented by Gamuchirai Dzvitiro, had approached the court for the exception of the charges challenging the green light given by former national director of Public Prosecutions, Florence Ziyambi, to prosecute them in the absence of the Prosecutor-General.

The duo also wanted the court to make a determination on whether or not someone, who is not the Prosecutor-General, can authorise prosecution of suspects on terror-related charges.

While reading the application ruling compiled by Bindura magistrate Sandra Mupindu, regional magistrate Hosiah Mujaya said it was clear that when Ziyambi signed for the consent of the two’s prosecution, there was no evidence or document to show that her action was authorised by the PG as provided by the law.

“Both the defence and the State admitted that the authority of prosecution tendered by the State was signed by former acting Prosecutor-General Florence Ziyambi. There was nothing provided before the court to show that she was authorised to prosecute the two,” Mujaya said.

“In view of that there is no authority to prosecute the accused persons by the Prosecutor-General, the exception application by the defence is hereby granted.”

After the application was granted, Dzvitiro then filed another application for the quashing of the charges.

But the prosecutor, Michael Reza, shot down the application and told court that the two were now free and removed from remand and if the State needed them, he would always proceed by way of summons.

Makumbe and Pfupa were ordered to collect their bail money and other goods confiscated by the police as exhibits.

The pair had been denying the offence saying they were the ones who must be rewarded by the State after foiling the said bombing after infiltrating those who planned to attack the dairy.

The duo, together with incarcerated Owen Kuchata, were accused of establishing a training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.

It was alleged that they proceeded to former President Robert Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba, where they carried out a survey to identify points to attack.

The State further alleged that they held several meetings at Queens Hotel in Harare planning how they would attack.

Police then received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and a tuck-shop during the night and they arrested them after laying an ambush about 100 metres from their intended target.