A STATE witness, a police officer, in the ongoing trial of three Chinese nationals facing allegations of cash-trading, yesterday exonerated the accused, conceding they were arrested without evidence.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The witness, Saydon Chinzete, made the remarks before magistrate, Nomsa Sabarauta, while giving evidence in the matter involving Fang Wei, Wu Huanjiu and Wei Wei, who were arrested after being found in possession of $50 000.
The trio’s lawyer, Hussein Ranchhod, asked Chinzete, who is the investigating officer, to provide evidence that his clients were involved in selling cash, to which Chinzete replied the suspects were arrested without evidence.
Fang and Huanjiu, who are both Hongji Minerals directors, told the court that the cash they were found in possession of was for the September salaries of their 176 mine employees, who had no bank accounts.
The suspects also told the court that part of the money, which was confiscated by the police was withdrawn from FBC Bank after they had applied for cash, adding their alleged accomplice, Wei, had also extended a cash loan to them in order to raise money for the payment of salaries.
After the State closed its case, Ranchhod filed an application for discharge, saying the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against the three.
Sabarauta postponed the matter to November 9 for ruling.
It is the State’s case that sometime early this month, officers from Harare CID Homicide received information that the three were trading in cash and the detectives went to Number 136 Seke Road, Harare, to gather more information on the alleged dealings.
It is alleged that, while outside Plannas Stationery, the detectives saw Fang leaving, carrying a sealed cardboard box, which he placed in his car and drove off towards Chisipite.
The detectives followed the vehicle and intercepted it along Enterprise Road and on conducting a search, they recovered $50 000 in bond notes stashed in the box, leading to Fang’s arrest.
It is alleged Fang then implicated Huanjiu and Wei, as the other parties involved in the transaction, leading to their arrest.
Francisca Mukumbiri appeared for the State.