Chi-Town clerk bail bid quashed

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Chitungwiza town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa’s bid to taste freedom was yesterday quashed after the State invoked Section 121 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to ensure he is locked up for seven more days before his case is brought before the courts.

Harare magistrate Anita Tshuma had earlier granted Tanyanyiwa $1 000 bail.

Tanyanyiwa is facing charges of allegedly defrauding council of over $700 000 and criminal abuse of office.

Tshuma had granted Tanyanyiwa bail after hearing submissions from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) senior investigating officer Saviours Kufandada, prosecutor Oliver Marwa and defence counsel Admire Rubaya.

The bail conditions included surrendering his passport to the clerk of court, not interfering or communicating with witnesses and reporting to Avondale Police Station twice a week on Mondays and Fridays and staying at his Mt Pleasant home unless attending court or with the consent of the investigating officer.

Kufandada told the court investigations into the alleged corrupt activities by Tanyanyiwa had unearthed more incidents of corruption than those recorded which had made the investigations more complex.

“We have actually gone deeper into murky waters and we have since discovered the corruption case we are investigating is one of the most difficult cases we have encountered so far,” he said. “We have unearthed more than we have on record and it has become a mammoth task.”

He added the major challenge they faced was that some of the witnesses linked to Tanyanyiwa were hostile and he had over 60 “agents of corruption” strategically located within the municipal system.
Kufandada said against that backdrop, it would be prejudicial to the State case for Tanyanyiwa to be granted bail.

Kufandada had requested three more weeks to gather all the evidence needed by the prosecution while Tanyanyiwa’s lawyer argued the prosecution had been given adequate time and keeping the accused in custody was tantamount to convicting him way before trial.

He further said if Chitungwiza housing director Jemina Gumbo, who appeared in court last week charged with 46 counts of criminal abuse of office after she allegedly allocated commercial and residential stands without following laid-down procedures, was granted bail with the consent of the State and the ACC, it was only fair for Tanyanyiwa to be treated the same.