Diamond executives released on bail

HARARE – Zimbabwean courts have ordered the release on bail of all but one of the six Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Canadile Miners bosses who are being accused of misleading government into sanctioning a hollow mining deal with a South African registered company.\r\n

After they were granted bail at the Harare magistrates court, prosecutors invoked the draconian Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which bars the operation of the court’s ruling pending an appeal against such ruling in a space of seven days.

But court officials told the Daily News that Attorney General Johannes Tomana moved in and ordered his prosecutors to abandon the invoking of the controversial act arguing that there was no basis to do so.

The accused were released upon payment of bail.

The High Court had earlier in the day granted bail to Canadile directors Lovemore Kurotwi whose is accused of conniving with the ZMDC bosses to commit the crime to fraudulently acquire a licence to mine gold..

Later in the day, provincial magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe granted bail on stringent conditions to four of the five ZMDC top bosses except chief executive Lovemore Mubaiwa, whom the state says is the principal offender in the case. Mubaiwa was denied bail.

The ZMDC bosses are also being charged with fraud and criminal abuse of office.

Guvamombe ordered them to deposit US$2000 each in bail money, surrender their passports and report to Harare CID frauds section once every day between 6am and 6pm.

They were also ordered to continue residing at their known addresses until the case is over as well as to keep within a radius of 40km unless granted permission by the police.

The defence had been granted permission by Guvamombe to file a referral to the Supreme Court to challenge what they see as the continued abuse of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act by prosecutors.

“The invocation of the section is driven by true malice and the basis is devoid of merit,” Lewis Uriri told the court on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Kurotwi had already been freed by High Court judge George Chiweshe when his co-accused were incarcerated courtesy of the draconian Section 121.

This was after his lawyer George Chikumbirike had approached the court seeking the reaffirmation of an order granted last Saturday that he should be released from custody after the expiry of the mandatory 96 detention hours.

The state has since filed an appeal against the ruling.

The five ZMDC bosses are accused of conniving with Kurotwi into recommending that his company partners the ZMDC to mine for diamonds in Marange.

Kurotwi is accused of misrepresenting to Mines and Mining development Minister, Obert Mpofu in March last year that his company had both the technical capacity and US$2 billion to finance a 50-50 joint venture in the exploration of diamonds in Marange as is required by the Mining Development Board’s Investor Evaluation Criteria.

The accused ZMDC bosses are company secretary John Tichaona Muhonde, Gloria Mawarire who briefly acted as CEO during Mubayiwa’s suspension, director Ashton Sibusiso Ndlovu, and board member Mark Tsomondo who sat in the parastatal’s technical committee.

They were all remanded to 18 November this year. – Daily News