MUSICIAN–CUM–BUSINESSMAN Energy Mutodi, who had been in remand custody for close to a month, was yesterday finally freed on $2 000 bail by the High Court.
REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
In granting bail, High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera ruled that the magistrates’ court in Mutare had erred in its judgment denying him bail.
The judge said the bail conditions “should be decisive in view of the nature of the allegations”. She ordered Mutodi not to interfere with witnesses and investigations, to report once a week at Borrowdale Police Station and to surrender his travel documents to the clerk of court in Mutare.
Justice Mwayera said a perusal of the record of proceedings in the magistrates’ court in summary, showed that Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo ruled that the accused was likely to interfere with witnesses and that there was a possibility of him absconding, but did not call the investigating officer to testify.
She said that omission made the court’s decision questionable.
“For the magistrates’ court to take it squarely upon the accused to call the investigating officer and not the State, in my view, is not a proper exercise of discretion. The court appears to have declined to admit the appellant to bail on the basis that he is likely to abscond. In the absence of substantiation of possibility or likelihood to abscond, it will be speculation,” she ruled.
Mutodi made two attempts to secure bail at the High Court which were postponed as the court papers pertaining to the case were not in order although the State – represented by law officer Public Mpofu – was not opposed to the bail application. The musician is being represented by lawyer Farai Nyamayaro.
Mutodi allegedly lured civil servants into making monthly payments to buy land in Mutare’s Gimboki South housing project promising to peg and service it before allocating residential stands to each of them.
Those who joined the scheme started paying varying amounts of money deducted from their salaries through a Salary Service Bureau stop order facility and Mutodi allegedly converted the money to his own personal use.