Mliswa freed on bail

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Hurungwe West legislator Temba Mliswa, who is facing charges of stealing eight firearms from a farm in Mhangura, was yesterday released on US$200 bail.Mliswa appeared in a packed courtroom at the Chinhoyi Magistrates Court and was ordered to reside at his Borrowdale home until the matter is finalised and not to interfere with witnesses.

He was ordered to surrender his passport to the Clerk of Court.

Chinhoyi provincial magistrate Mr Ignatius Mugova dismissed the State’s reasons for pre-trial incarceration for the former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West chairman as “uncompelling”.

“Liberty is a right that must not be interfered with,” he said.

“The State’s attitude in opposing bail is very relevant, but not decisive in this matter. Bail cannot be denied simply because the State opposes it.”

Mr Mugova said assertions that Mliswa would interfere with star witness Standfind Mashiri, who is his employee at Spring Farm, were “imagined”.

This, he said, is because investigating officer Detective Assistant Inspector Masimba Mputa conceded in his evidence that Mashiri only co-operated after being instructed by Mliswa.

Prosecutor Herald Matura opposed bail on grounds that if released, Mliswa would cause Mashiri to disappear.

But Mr Mugova said Mliswa had offered to stay in Harare for up to six months without setting foot at Spring Farm.

Mr Matura said the other reason Mliswa was not supposed to get bail was because scientific investigations were still under way at the CID Ballistics unit, a point dismissed by Mr Mugova who said police should investigate first before making an arrest.

Mr Matura later welcomed the court’s ruling, saying investigations were almost complete and the State will be ready to proceed to trial.

Mliswa was remanded to February 18.

Mliswa’s defence team led by Mr Charles Chinyama assisted by Mr Musindo Hungwe had applied for his release on bail, saying he was not a flight risk and would not interfere with witnesses.