BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
HARARE Mayor Jacob Mafume will spend the Christmas and New Year holidays behind bars after magistrate Ngoni Nduna denied him bail on charges of obstructing or defeating the course of justice and remanded him to January 28.
Mafume is being accused of interfering with Edgar Dzehonye, a key witness in another matter before the courts where he is being accused of parcelling out land. He had been granted $30 000 bail by the High Court and ordered not to interfere with witnesses.
In his ruling, Nduna said that State allegations that Mafume met with Dzehonye clearly showed that he interacted with the witness in the manner alleged.
He said the current bail conditions prohibit him from interfering with witnesses, which he did, therefore, imprisonment was the only condition to restrict him.
“Accused person is a lawyer. Under such circumstances where he is facing criminal charges, why didn’t he call his intended client to his office and discuss business issues? While there is no law that prohibits meeting in such places, going to his office was the logical thing to do,” Nduna said.
The State, led by Constance Ngombengombe, alleges that Mafume violated his bail conditions and offered to pay $1 500 to Dzehonye so that he testifies in his favour in court.
It is alleged that Mafume contacted Dzehonye, through a WhatsApp voice call, requesting to meet him and discuss his criminal case.
He was caught by the police at Strathaven shopping centre while in the middle of the discussion.
But Mafume, through his lawyers Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Tonderai Bhatasara, said the cell number which police alleges he used to call Dzehonye was actually not his, but belonged to one Dumba who was in Dzehonye’s car when the police arrested him.
But Nduna said the State was not worried about the ownership of the line but its use in the case before the courts.
State further alleges that Mafume told Dzehonye that he had also spoken to another witness in the matter, Addmore Nhekairo, who agreed to testify in his favour and had also apologised for agreeing to stand against him in court.