NewsDay Deputy Editor Nqaba Matshazi, reporter Xolisani Ncube and company representative Sifikile Tabethe, who are facing charges of “communicating or publishing false statements prejudicial to the State” over a bonus story published on Wednesday, were yesterday released on $200 bail.
by Staff Reporters
But the trio’s lawyer, Taona Nyamakura, vowed to challenge the constitutionality of the section they are being charged under when they appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.
Matshazi and Ncube were released on $200 bail each while Tabethe got free bail.
“We put the State on notice that at the next remand date we will apply for a referral of the matter to the Constitutional Court as we are going to challenge the constitutionality of the section used to arrest them,” Nyamakura said.
The three were not asked to plead, but were remanded to January 27 by Harare magistrate Elijah Makomo after the State consented to bail.
They are accused of contravening Section 31 (1) (ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act over an article entitled, CIO ‘secretly’ get bonuses.
As part of their bail conditions Matshazi and Ncube were ordered to remain at their given addresses and to surrender their passports, not to interfere with State witnesses and to report at Harare CID Law and Order every Friday until finalisation of the matter.
According to prosecutor Sharon Mashavira, investigations into the matter would be completed by January 21 this year.
She said the prosecution’s case would rely on the copy of NewsDay and that it would call witnesses to testify that the CIO did not receive their bonuses as alleged by the paper.
Nyamakura, however, gave notice to the State that he shall make a constitutional application challenging the constitutionality of the provision used to charge his clients.