The seven suspects accused of trafficking women from Zimbabwe to Kuwait for slavery purposes, under the guise of securing employment for them as maids in the Arab country, were yesterday granted $300 bail each pending trial by a Harare magistrate.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Provincial magistrate Elijah Makomo ruled the seven were suitable candidates for bail after a full 15bail hearing, where the State was opposing the granting of bail to the suspects.
Lucia Chibayambuya (26), Lawrence Chibayambuya (23) and Faith Magora (57) of Marondera are jointly charged with Josephine Gondo (57), Tonderai Gondwa (26), Fadzayi Nyahondo (19) and Edgar Muchineripi Gora (33), all based in Harare.
As part of their bail conditions, the suspects were ordered to report once every Friday at Harare Central Law and Order, surrender passports, continue residing at their given addresses and not to interfere with witnesses. They were all remanded to April 7, 2016.
During the bail hearing, the suspect’s lawyer, Batanai Pesenai, argued his clients were entitled to bail pending trial despite the seriousness of the offence.
He also said the country’s superior courts had reiterated this position in numerous decisions on bail.
However, the investigating officer, Detective Constable Wellington Chadenga, failed to justify why the suspects should not be granted bail.
It is the State’s case that the group, including one James Maroodza, organised the trafficking of Sifikile Chitekuteku, Fortunate Gwariwa, Fungai Mataba and Audrey Chinake under the pretext that they were going to work as housemaids in Kuwait.
Maroodza, through his company Global Engine Employment Services, organised for their visas, air tickets and travel itinerary.
The four were also subjected to medical examinations and police clearance after which they were ordered to submit passport size photographs.
It is alleged they were promised they would get an opportunity to further their education in Kuwait.
However, upon arrival in Kuwait, their passports were seized by an agent known as David Santas and were sent to different households in the Arab country.
The four, according to the State, were subjected to slavery in which they were continuously made to work without rest, not allowed to leave the house or talk to anyone outside their employer’s house and were denied food.
Sebastian Mutizirwa prosecuted the case.