HomeLocal NewsEspionage case takes new twist

Espionage case takes new twist


Former Africom Holdings chief executive officer Kwanai Kashangura is alleged to have broken into his former office, hours after the incumbent, acting chief executive officer Simba Mangwende was picked up by police last Thursday.

Chief superintendent Luckson Mukazhi confirmed under cross examination by Mangwende’s lawyer Nikita Madya police were investigating the break-in.

Although Kashangura’s motive for allegedly breaking into his former office remains a mystery, Madya put Mukazhi to task demanding to know what action the police had taken since the report was made last week.

On Monday, the defence team comprising Madya, Advocate Lewis Uriri and Innocent Musimbe made an application for bail on behalf of Mangwende, Farai Rwodzi and Oliver Chiku.

The State, led by Jonathan Murombedzi, assisted by Michael Reza, opposed the bail application saying the matter was of national security and serious in nature.

In order to bolster his case, Murombedzi called Mukazhi to the witness stand who said the three businessmen were a flight risk and would interfere with State witnesses if granted bail.

Mukazhi told the court the equipment allegedly installed by Africom technicians were connected to government ministries from where critical information was allegedly intercepted and sent to the United States of America, Canada and Afghanistan.

“The gadget would siphon some data from the ministries and the information sent to wherever it was sent,” Mukazhi said.

However, the defence argued the businessmen had not committed any offence because the mentioned countries were not enemies of Zimbabwe since the president had not declared them hostile nations.

The lawyers argued the State could only sustain the charge of espionage if the President had proclaimed the three nations as enemies of Zimbabwe, which was not the case in the matter before the court.

The lawyers further submitted their clients were not a flight risk since they had vast business interests and families in Zimbabwe.

They also said the three men would not interfere with witnesses or evidence since police had recorded statements from possible witnesses and above all, seized the equipment which formed the bases of the charge.

As the application continued, provincial Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi ordered that the court cleared after the State indicated it wanted to give a hint of what the next witness would come and tell the court in the absence of the public.

Mangwende and non-executive director Rwodzi, together with Chiku of Global Satellite Systems, are being charged with espionage and contravening Section 33 (i) of the Postal and Telecommunications Act which makes it an offence for one to illegally possess, control or set up a radio station.

The matter continues on Tuesday.

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