By Mashudu Netsianda
Notorious Esigodini gold dealer Baron Dube, who allegedly shot and killed a member of a rival mining gang in the area, has approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial.
Dube of Habane Township has since appeared before Gwanda magistrate Ms Nomagugu Ncube facing a murder charge in connection with the fatal shooting of Antony Bvundura three weeks ago in the heat of a fight over a mining claim at Block 13 Atlas Mine in Esigodini using a Voere 458 calibre rifle.
The shooting happened at a mine belonging to a Mr Tendai Musanangura.
Dube said he has mining rights and authority from Mr Musanangura to occupy the mine.
Dube, through his lawyers Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as the respondent.
In his grounds of appeal, Dube, who is denying the charge, said he was a proper candidate for bail and would not abscond.
He argued that he is a businessman who owns properties of value, which include a farm and more than 500 head of cattle.
“The applicant submits that the reliance of the State on the traditional reasons for refusal of bail is purely presumptuous and unfounded especially with regards to abscondment,” he said.
Dube said admission to bail would not prejudice the interests of justice.
“The applicant is willing to abide by all bail conditions this honourable court might be inclined to impose such as requiring him to remain at his present place of residence and prohibiting him from interfering with State witnesses until the matter is finalised,” said Dube’s lawyers.
In papers before the court, Dube wants bail of $100 with conditions which include residing at his given address, reporting once every two weeks at Esigodini Police Station and not interfering with witnesses.
“It is further submitted that the fear of abscondment and interference with witnesses can be cured with appropriate bail conditions such as requiring the applicant to report to the nearest police station,” said the applicant’s lawyers.
The State, which is being represented by Ms Sifiso Ndlovu-Sibanda, opposed bail.
The prosecutor argued that there was no guarantee that if granted bail Dube would not abscond due to the gravity of the alleged offence.
Ms Ndlovu-Sibanda said Dube is a well-known gold dealer who wields a lot of influence in Esigodini hence the likelihood of interfering with witnesses.
She said Dube has previous similar cases involving acts of violence. In 2011 Dube threatened to shoot and kill one Eugene Sibanda and the case was reported at ZRP Esigodini where he paid a fine of $100 under case number CR55/11/11.
Ms Ndlovu-Sibanda said in July 2016, Dube allegedly organised a gang which went to Birdford Mine in Zvishavane and robbed one Charles Shava of gold ore weighing 150kg and the case was reported under DR06/07/16.
During the same year in November under case number DR07/11/16, Dube allegedly organised a team which went to Hayhill Farm in Filabusi where artisanal miners violently assaulted rivals leading to the death of Thabisani Moyo.
According to court papers, on September 26, Dube allegedly shot and killed Bvundura in the heat of a fight over a mining claim at Block 13 Atlas Mine in Esigodini using a Voere 458 calibre rifle. The Chronicle.