Mliswa released but told to shut up


Outspoken businessman and farmer Temba Mliswa and co-accused, minister Didymus Mutasa’s son Martin and George Marere, were yesterday set free after the state said it was no longer opposed to their bail application.
Mliswa, Mutasa and Marere were arrested a week ago on allegations of fraud or alternatively, extortion.
They spent three days in police cells and another four in remand prison.
Defence lawyer Charles Chinyama approached the magistrates’ court yesterday armed with written instructions from the Attorney General (AG)’s office saying the state was no longer interested in opposing bail.
The trio had been granted $400 bail each last Thursday, but the state invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which nullified the magistrate’s decision and gave the state up to seven days to appeal. Chinyama entered court during proceedings and handed over the instructions to prosecutor Phyllis Zvenyika, who in turn informed magistrate Gloria Takundwa. He immediately endorsed the previous bail order and the special extra condition recommended by the AG that the accused must not speak to the press.
Prosecutor Zvenyika said:
“I have received instructions from the Chief Law Officer Chris Mutangadura to the effect that the state shall no longer proceed to file an appeal against the granting of bail to the accused.
“However, the state intends to add one bail condition. The accused persons shall be barred from talking to the press on any matters pending before the courts.”
However, in the infancy of the case and while Mliswa, Mutasa and Marere were in police custody, minister Didymus Mutasa and co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone reportedly attempted to influence the release of the accused persons. Ministers Mutasa and Makone have since denied reports of their alleged interference.
Mutangadura said in an interview yesterday his office had discussed the matter with the defence lawyers and agreed to set the accused free on the additional bail condition.
According to court papers, Mliswa alleged that he had orders from Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, to take over Noshio Investment (Private) Limited. In the court papers, Mliswa claimed President Mugabe was aware of his intended actions.