HARARE magistrate Milton Serima yesterday turned down an application by MDC–T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to compel the court to release his passport permanently, arguing the travel document would only be released at the end of his trial for theft of trust property.
Mwonzora’s passport was held by the clerk of court as part of his bail conditions in a case in which the MDC-T official and his legal partner, Joseph Terera, are facing theft of trust property charges after allegedly defrauding a client of $15 000.
Mwonzora told the court he needed to travel during the festive season and argued that he had been faithfully abiding by his bail conditions.
Prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa, however, argued that the State still harboured the same fears that compelled the court to impose stringent bail conditions.
Allegations against the two are that sometime in 2012, a mining firm, represented in court by its project manager Justin Matenda, secured a $200 000 loan from Ecobank which was supposed to be settled in one year.
The court heard that the complainant failed to pay back the money as agreed, leading the bank to sue the firm for breach of contract in July this year.
It was then agreed that the firm would pay $15 000 per month to the bank for a period of 12 months.
In the lawsuit, the firm was represented by Tendai Toto from Mwonzora and Associates.
Toto allegedly advised the complainant that all repayments were to be done through Barclays Bank account number 21914500125 in which Mwonzora and Terera are signatories.
On August 5 2014, the firm deposited the initial $15 000 pursuant to the payment plan agreed on earlier by the parties.
But the complainant, the court heard further, continued to receive correspondence from Ecobank indicating that they were yet to receive payment since agreeing to the payment plan.
This prompted the complainant to approach the law firm, and Terera allegedly gave him excuses and at one time, said the money had been transferred into their trust account at Kingdom Bank.
The complainant continued to make follow-ups with the law firm, but to no avail. He eventually filed a police report.
Investigations carried out showed that the $15 000 deposited by the complainant was withdrawn by Terera and Mwonzora between August 5 and 15, 2014 and they converted it to their own use.