BULAWAYO – National University of Science and Technology (NUST) lecturer, Dr Lerato Nare who was facing charges of demanding and accepting a $500 bribe from a student, has been found not guilty and acquitted.
Dr Nare (48), of Number 7D Northlea Road in Woodville had pleaded not guilty to the charge before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Crispen Mberewere. He was yesterday found not guilty and acquitted.
Dr Nare was arrested after one of his Masters Degree students accused him of demanding and accepting $500 bribe from him so that he could pass a dissertation. Dr Nare’s lawyer Mr Byron Sengweni, of Dube-Tachiona and Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners applied for a discharge at the close of the State’s case.
In his ruling, Mr Mberewere said Dr Nare could not be put on his defence because the State had failed to answer pertinent questions meant to establish whether or not Dr Nare solicited for a bribe from Mr Joakim George Chakanyuka or that the informant gave him the money in question as help.
He said the court felt that since Mr Chakanyuka knew that Dr Nare was looking for money to pay for his child’s fees at a university in South Africa, he used the opportunity to blackmail him. Mr Mberewere said Mr Chakanyuka brought to court an audio phone recording as evidence.
The court queried why he brought the audio recording after the State had led its evidence, adding that the informant’s evidence should be treated with caution.
The court also ruled that the recording was not audible and that its 11th hour production was suspicious because Mr Chakanyuka withheld it from authorities until he realised that his case was weak.
Dr Nare told the court that the money he received from Mr Chakanyuka was not a bribe but he had asked for it because he wanted to pay fees for his child who is at Venda University in South Africa.
He said he told Mr Chakanyuka that he urgently needed $500 and he gave him $100 promising to give him the remainder later.
Mr Chakanyuka, of 71083 Lobengula West, is employed as an administration manager at Foundation College and was a block release student in the Faculty of Commerce at Nust.
Dr Nare was his research supervisor and was arrested near Kingdom Bank in the city centre after the university authorities set up a trap.
The State led by Mr Jeremiah Mutsindikwa had alleged that on four occasions this year, Mr Chakanyuka consulted Dr Nare concerning his research project proposal, which had been turned down for poor presentation.
The State had alleged that on 31 January, Dr Nare allegedly told Mr Chakanyuka that if he wanted his Masters Degree research project, he had to raise $500 so that it could be prepared on his behalf for submission before the 11 February deadline.
The court was told that Dr Nare told Mr Chakanyuka that he had helped other students in a similar manner in South Africa. Mr Chakanyuka then allegedly promised to raise the money on 3 February and told other students about the deal.
His colleagues allegedly advised him to alert university authorities, who assigned security guards at the university to investigate.
The court was told that the security guards informed the police and Mr Chakanyuka was given three $100 notes, whose serial numbers were recorded and a trap was set. He was arrested soon after allegedly receiving the money from Mr Chakanyuka and the money was recovered.