THE Judicial Service Commission has appointed a new regional magistrate, Lucy Mungwari, to preside over the trial of Eddie “Kebab” Zviitwa and Keegan Paul Blumear, who are accused of stealing $85 000 from a Lebanese national.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
This came after regional magistrate, Hosiah Mujaya and Harare lawyer, Admire Rubaya, pulled out of the matter in protest last year.
Yesterday, Blumears and Zviitwa appeared before Mungwari, who remanded them to February 15 in order to familiarise herself with the matter.
Mujaya threw in the towel after his order to have Zviitwa and Blumear put to their defence was challenged by Rubaya, who felt his clients were not receiving a fair trial.
In recusing himself, Mujaya indicated the defence had lost trust in him and suspected him of being biased.
Mujaya had discharged other three suspects, Taurai Makata, Obey Chakacha and Tinashe Hakunavanhu, who were facing the same charges, saying the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them, but ruled Zviitwa and Blumear had a case to answer.
Rubaya recused himself from the matter after the magistrate insisted that the two accused persons should be put to their defence.
Allegations against the suspects are that on March 29 last year, they lured the complainant, Taghlan Hovsep, to a Mount Pleasant house on the impression they were selling an excavator.
The State alleges Hosvep went to Blumears with a bagful of cash intending to buy the heavy-duty machine, which was coming from a friend’s mine.
Blumears then communicated with his alleged accomplices and the bogus detectives, who then “arrested” Hosvep for dealing in minerals and supporting Zanu PF’s Team Lacoste faction and robbed him of the money.
The State alleges Zviitwa then left with the “detectives” on the pretext he was going to release his money, but later came back empty-handed claiming the money had been taken away by senior police officers.