Former CIO boss remains in custody

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Former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) deputy director-general Lovemore Mukandi, facing fraud charges, will have to spend yet another night in remand prison after Harare magistrate Don Ndirowei postponed ruling for his bail application to Wednesday.

Mukandi, who had an outstanding 11-year-old warrant of arrest issued against him after he fled to Canada in 2001, was extradited and immediately arrested on arrival last Friday.

On Monday, Mukandi’s lawyer Nickel Mushangwe applied for annulment of warrant of arrest, arguing it had been unprocedurally issued.

He is being accused of defrauding the State of millions of dollars in a scam involving construction of five CIO safe houses in Harare’s plush Glen Lorne suburb. Mukandi, who was dismissed from the CIO in 1999, fled at a time he was facing allegations of defrauding the CIO in 1998.

In October 2001, he fled the country and since then, the Zimbabwean government had been battling to secure his extradition amid reports Harare had no extradition treaty with Canada where the ex-CIO boss was holed up.

Back then, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament Mukandi’s extradition was imminent and assured the august House the fugitive would be brought home for trial within a month, but the move encountered intermittent setbacks until last week.