Byo men exonerated in Mugabe case

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Three Bulawayo men accused of possessing fake bearer cheques which allegedly carried inscriptions that insulted President Robert Mugabe, were yesterday found not guilty and acquitted.

Calvin Ncube (22) of Emganwini, Mpumelelo Donga (26) and Gift Given Mlala (22) both of Nkulumane, pleaded not guilty to the charges at the opening of the trial last year in May before Bulawayo magistrate Thobekile Mkhosana.

The court heard that sometime in February last year, the three were found in possession of three fake bearer cheques with statements insulting President Mugabe.

Through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights attorney, Lizwe Jamela, the three denied the allegations saying they were not the authors of the offensive documents.

The three argued they never made any public statements related to the information contained in the documents.

They said the charge did not refer to them since they were alleged to have only possessed the documents. The State based its case on evidence from two policemen. One of them, Silas Sibanda, told the court he arrested Ncube in connection with a different case and when he searched him he found the offensive material.

Another policeman, Dumisani Sibanda, from the polices Law and Order section said he further investigated the matter since it appeared politically motivated.

He arrested Donga who implicated Mlala, leading to his arrest as well.

Jamela submitted the offensive cheques do not bear the name of the President or his photographs, but the State based its charges on its own interpretation.
He said the interpretation was based on presupposition hence statements such as it would appear, it seems as if, I think it may and so on.

Jamela said even the name Grace Mugabe mentioned on the fake cheques was not exclusive to the First Lady.

Therefore basing on these, there is no case to answer for the accused since there is no evidence, said Jamela.

Late last year the three, through their lawyer made an application for discharge at the close of the State case. Yesterday Mkhosana ruled they had no case to answer. The State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them.