Former Assistant Mining Commissioner for Mutare, Isaac Giles Ruswa, was Monday found not guilty and acquitted on charges of corruptly issuing diamond mining claims and of criminal abuse of office.
Ruswa (61) was arrested in May last year after the state alleged he issued diamond mining claims to Possession Investment, Olebile Investment and Heavy Stuff Investment on ground not open to prospecting and pegging in Marange.
Between April and July 2006, Ruswa was accused of registering Ian Harold Harris diamond mining claims in Marange Communal lands on areas that were not open to prospecting and pegging.
But Ruswa, through his lawyer Charles Chinyama, denied ever meeting Harris as alleged by the state and told the court the process of registering mining claims was done at clerical level and not by his office.
He also told the court the diamond mining area in question was open to prospecting and pegging since its Exclusive Prospecting Order 1523 had expired on March 28 2006.
After leading evidence from several state witnesses, Prosecutor Obi Mabahwana closed the state case and made an application for Ruswa to be put to his defence.
However, Chinyama applied for Ruswa’s acquittal citing lack of evidence and his application was granted by regional magistrate Simon Rogers Kachambwa.
“The state failed to call the evidence of Eunice Kawonde who was the Acting Mining Commissioner then, and the police officer who received information from the so called reliable source that accused (Ruswa) acted corruptly or criminally abused his office,” Kachambwa said in his judgement.
“Was it not a matter to be dealt with at the office level if indeed he did not obey head office instructions?” Kachambwa asked, adding: “Accordingly accused is discharged.”
When Ruswa initially appeared before the court, he was jointly charged with Mairos Matinyane who is now late.