Suspended Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairperson Godwin Gomwe, who is accused of extorting $46 000 from housing co-operatives in Glen Norah, was yesterday released by High Court judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze on $1 000 bail coupled with stringent conditions.
BY CHARLES LAITON/MOSES MATENGA
But he was immediately rearrested after his release on bail.
When NewsDay visited Harare Central Remand Prison last night, riot police could be seen in one vehicle while a Criminal Investigations Department truck was waiting to pick him up.
His camp was quick to suspect that the arrests were politically motivated as the youth leader had stepped on the toes of senior party officials. National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not immediately confirm the rearrest as she was yet to get the information.
Sources, however, said Gomwe was facing fresh charges of assault and contravening the Telecommunications Act.
Earlier as part of Gomwe’s bail conditions, Justice Mawadze had further ordered the suspended Zanu PF youth chairperson not to visit the offices of the co-operative housing consortium in Glen Norah, to reside at his house in Budiriro, report twice every week at a police station, surrender his passport and not to interfere with any person associated with the case.
Justice Mawadze said although Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe had properly dealt with Gomwe’s bail application while understanding and appreciating the law concerning bails, he had, however, misdirected himself in accepting that Gomwe was not a proper candidate for bail.
“I commend the trial magistrate for the detailed determination and application of the law with regard to bail pending trial, he clearly understood what the law says,” Justice Mawadze said.
“However, it was improper for the court a quo (lower court) to make a finding that appellant was a flight risk and that he would interfere with witnesses, without evidence being placed before the court to support that assertion.”
Before ordering Gomwe to deposit $1 000 bail with the clerk of court Harare, Justice Mawadze added: “It, therefore, remains purely speculative that the appellant will interfere with evidence and there is no doubt that the finding by the court constitute a misdirection.”
However, prosecutor Masimba Manhamo had opposed Gomwe’s bail application and urged the court to dismiss it on the basis that the determination by the magistrate that Gomwe would interfere with witnesses was well-founded given his prior conduct.
But the judge said in releasing Gomwe, he was alive to the facts of the matter and had relied on Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
“The faces of the witnesses in the matter remain unknown and unclear. It is not clear as to whether investigations are complete and not clear as to how the witnesses will be interfered with,” Justice Mawadze said.
“If the magistrate had relied on these provisions, he would not have denied him bail.”
Gomwe and his alleged accomplices Muchinerepi Mpindu, Fidelis Ndaradza, Humphrey Madenyika, Haruwandi Munyaviri, Norah Torongo and Josephine Hadziende are facing three counts of extortion involving $46 000.
They allegedly used First Lady Grace Mugabe’s name to demand protection fees from housing co-operatives in Harare.