PROSECUTOR-GENERAL (PG) Johannes Tomana has landed himself in trouble after he allegedly sanctioned the dropping of criminal charges against two soldiers linked to an attempted bombing at President Robert Mugabe’s dairy farm.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Tomana was yesterday granted $1 000 bail coupled with stringent reporting conditions when he appeared before provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe facing charges of criminal abuse of office or alternatively obstructing the course of justice.
The court ordered him to report three times a week at CID Harare Central Police Station, reside at his given address and not interfere with witnesses.
The two soldiers — Solomon Makumbe (29), attached to 1 Field Regiment, and Silas Pfupa (37) of the Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps — were arrested together with two others at the First Family’s Gushungo Dairy project in Mazowe two weeks ago, as they were about to execute their alleged bombing plot.
Tomana, who was arrested on Monday, arrived at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday under a heavy police escort.
The PG is alleged to have instructed his subordinate, Michael Mugabe, to drop the charges against the two, who were to be turned into State witnesses.
Appearing for the State, Timothy Makoni said Tomana abused his office when he allegedly instructed Mugabe to write an official document withdrawing charges against the duo.
Represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Tomana raised constitutional breaches in his arrest, saying the police had no authority to charge or interfere with the discharge of his duties as enshrined in the Constitution.
Mpofu told magistrate Chikwekwe that Tomana’s arrest would be unlawful even if he had committed an offence.
“The existence of the factual reason entitling anyone under whatever title or authority to proceed against the PG will also be an issue on the next remand date,” he said.
“This case brings the entire constitutional spectrum hearing on validity of the constitutional office, action of the police will be subject for debate.”
Meanwhile, the soldiers, whose charges had been withdrawn, were re-arrested and charged with treason together with their initial co-accused, Owen Kuchata (34) and Borman Ngwenya (30), leaders of a little-known Zimbabwe People’s Front political party.
The four are accused of attempting to bomb the Gushungo dairy plant in Mazowe and unconstitutionally attempting to overthrow an elected government.
The State alleges the quartet established a militia base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province, where they planned to train people to topple the President.
It is also alleged on January 1 and 2 this year, they went to Kutama, Zvimba district, where they conducted surveillance of Mugabe’s rural homestead with a view to plan his ouster.
On several occasions, it is alleged, the group met at Queens Hotel in the capital, where they plotted banditry and insurgency activities with a view to topple Mugabe.
The quartet was remanded in custody to February 16 and advised to apply for bail at the High Court.