HARARE regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa on Tuesday dismissed an application for discharge filed by businessman Upenyu Mashangwa and his colleagues in a case they are charged with defrauding Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries of $116 000 in a botched car importation deal
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Mashangwa and his co-accused, Cosmas Mushininga, Kudakwashe Larry Mapfumo and Clifford Tinashe Gonde, are alternatively facing charges of smuggling a Land Rover Discovery 4 2013 model into the country and failing to pay import duty to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
In dismissing the application, Mupeiwa said the State had managed to prove a prima facie case against the quartet, although some of the evidence given by the witnesses was not credible.
“Credibility of the witness is not a factor that should be considered when dealing with an application of this nature if some parts of the evidence given can be believed. Several parts of the evidence are worth believing and so credibility will not be considered,” Mupeiwa ruled.
“There is enough evidence to establish a prima facie case against the accused at the moment. All the applications for discharge are dismissed and all the accused will be put to their defence,” he added.
In coming with the decision, the court also considered that the defence’s averments had not been tested in the trial.
“Their (accused’s) defence is not part of evidence until they testify and are cross-examined for their veracity,” the magistrate said.
After Mupeiwa’s ruling, the three lawyers — Dumisani Mtombeni, Tafadzwa Hungwe and Sylvester Maruza — representing the suspects notified the court that they would approach the High Court demanding a review of the lower court’s ruling.
However, prosecutor Michael Reza urged the court to continue with the trial while the defence proceeded to file their applications at the High Court.
The matter was postponed to next Wednesday when the suspects are expected to open their defence cases.