A Bulawayo lawyer yesterday told the court that his client facing charges of defrauding NetOne of over $240 000 was a suitable candidate for bail when compared to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who in 2003 was granted bail even though he was facing a much more serious offence of treason.
Report by Richard Muponde Senior Court Reporter
Lawyer Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga made the plea during his bail application for NetOne sales representative Wellington Dodzo, who is facing a fraud charge.
“Your Worship, the issue that my client will interfere with witnesses or abscond trial does not suffice here,” he said.
“In the State versus Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela, Justice (Paddington) Garwe stated that the conditions imposed make it difficult, if not impossible, for the accused to interfere with witnesses or abscond. This is the same with my client. To allay all State fears, he is willing to submit himself to any stringent conditions imposed by the court.”
The three who were key members of the MDC were charged with treason — punishable by death in Zimbabwe — in connection with allegations that they wanted to violently oust President Robert Mugabe.
Back then the trio was granted Z$500 000 bail each following their arrest over allegations of plotting to unseat Mugabe. The matter was, however, later dismissed for lack of evidence after the State’s key witness, Canadian businessman Ari Ben Menashe, gave contradictory evidence.
In the current case, State counsel Robin Makura opposed bail and went on to invite the investigating officer, Detective Assistant Inspector Alford Nyasha, to lead evidence, arguing Dodzo was likely to interfere with investigations.
Nyasha told the court that releasing Dodzo on bail would jeopardise investigations, adding the suspect was also likely to abscond since he faced a related charge.
State allegations are that on August 31, Dodzo misrepresented to NetOne by tendering false consignment and stock figures for reconciliation purporting that $852 796,15 had not yet been collected from various vendors and dealers.
However, preliminary police investigations revealed that airtime cards worth $240 125 could not be accounted for.