As the battle for control and ownership of precious gems between Core Mining and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) spills into the New Year, six alleged diamond fraudsters are expected to be indicted at the High Court of Zimbabwe for trial on Tuesday amid fears they may be remanded in custody.
The six include Core Mining and Mineral Resources director Lovemore Kurotwi, suspended ZMDC chief executive officer Dominic Mubaiwa, suspended legal advisor and company secretary John Tichaona Muhonde, former ZMDC acting chairperson Gloria Mawarire, former ZMDC director Ashton Sibusiso Ndlovu and former ZMDC board member of the technical committee, Mark Tsomondo.
According to Zimbabwean law, once an accused person is indicted for trial at the High Court, his or her bail is automatically withdrawn and the accused is remanded in custody. One can, however, apply for fresh bail at the High Court.
Last month, Harare provincial magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe pronounced the indictment date after making a variation of the bail conditions of the five ZMDC bosses.
Although the state was opposed to variation of the bail conditions arguing the ZMDC bosses were a flight risk, Guvamombe said there was need to balance the interest of justice and that of the accused persons.However, when they were granted bail and released, the passports of the five diamond bosses were not released as the magistrate sought to prevent them from skipping bail.
Guvamombe said the temptation on the part of the ZMDC bosses to abscond was very high if the passports were released to them.
“After considering the need to balance the interest of justice and that of the accused persons, releasing passports to the five accused would not be in the interest of justice,” Guvamombe said.
Defence lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri last month gave notice to the state saying if the state today failed to proceed to indict the five accused, the defence would go ahead with the cross-examination of Godwills Masimirembwa and make an application for the ZMDC bosses to be removed from remand.
The six accused persons were arrested on allegations of conniving to defraud ZMDC and government of over $10 million worth of diamonds.