Maguwu threatened with two years in remand prison


An investigating officer in the high profile case of incarcerated human rights activist Farai Maguwu told the court yesterday that Maguwu could spend the next two years in remand prison without trial unless the police access “vital” information locked in his laptop.
Maguwu’s laptop is in police hands but they have since failed to unlock the access codes.
Detective Inspector Henry Dowa said it could take them up to two years to complete their investigations as long as Maguwu did not cooperate.
The state successfully argued that Maguwu could not be granted bail before police investigations were complete.
But Maguwu’s legal counsel, led by prominent Harare lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa immediately challenged Dowa’s conditions for Maguwu’s release.
She reminded him that her client was, according to the law, entitled to remain silent and as such could not be forced to open files on his laptop.
The state insists that police need to interview witnesses outside the country but their whereabouts could only be found through information in Maguwu’s laptop.
Dowa told the court he needed to locate Tor-Hugne Olsen, Antony Dekker and Gabriel Shumba whom he intended to interview in connection with the case.
“I need more time to contact Olsen, Dekker and Shumba but I do not know where they are. Maguwu refused to give me their addresses and as a result I have engaged Interpol to assist me,” Dowa said
Harare Magistrate Donald Ndirowei agreed with the state and denied Maguwu bail saying the defence had not submitted any changed circumstances from the previous bail hearing submissions where the state said there were extraterritorial investigations that needed to be carried out.
He further remanded Maguwu to July 14.
“On June 23 this court found there were no changed circumstances when the defence made an application for bail and still today the court finds there is need for the state to be given more time to carry out extraterritorial investigations. Therefore application for bail is dismissed,” Ndirowei ruled.
Dowa told the court he had made very little progress in the investigations and accused the defence of stalling and frustrating his efforts.
“I have made very little progress in carrying out investigations because the defence lawyers instructed Maguwu not to comply with my request to access information from his laptop,” Dowa said.
On Thursday Maguwu accused the state of dragging its feet saying there was no need for outside investigations since the document at the centre of the case was originated locally and was in the possession of the police.
“The prosecution is showing no urgency at all. They have taken interest in my continued detention and incarceration,” Maguwu said.
“They have the document which they allegedly got from (KP monitor Abbey) Chikane and if they want anything from him they can simply call him on the phone or e-mail him.”
Maguwu, the director of Centre for Research and Development, denied authoring the document which the state based its case on. He said he was only aware of a draft document which was taken from his residence.
“I read the document which was supposedly written by an officer from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) chronicling the events at Chiadzwa diamond fields,” he said.
Maguwu said the alleged document was local and the police claimed it was given to them by Chikane.
“They asked me if I had any links with the ZNA who could have possibly given me the document and I told them I had none,” he said.
Maguwu told the court that while he was in police custody he was labelled an economic saboteur, an enemy of the state working for foreign institutions to destabilise the economy but no such charges were laid against him.