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Gold theft case: Lawyer gets bail

Prominent Harare lawyer Admire Rubaya, facing charges relating to the theft of nearly US$1 million worth of gold at Plumtree Police Station, yesterday had his bail reinstated after spending 10 days in remand prison.

Senior Harare lawyer Admire Rubaya
Harare lawyer Admire Rubaya

Rubaya and his co-accused had their bail revoked by High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, sitting in Bulawayo, after he discovered that one of their co-accused had faked his death to evade trial.

The lawyer is facing theft charges, or alternatively obstructing the course of justice, along with Jefta Chaganda, Plumtree regional magistrate Timeon Tavengwa Makunde, public prosecutor Stanley Chinyanganya, Dingumuzi Ncube, Tyson Ruvando, Godfrey Makuvadze, Ladislous Tamboonei and Detective Assistant Inspector Ladislous Tinacho, who is in charge of the ZRP minerals and border control unit in the area.

Through lawyers Rubaya and Chatambudza law firm instructing Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Rubaya approached the Supreme Court seeking bail pending appeal against the lower court’s decision to incarcerate him.

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi yesterday presided over the urgent chamber application and allowed the appeal for the relief sought after hearing arguments from both the defence and State counsel.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the decision by the High Court to revoke the applicant’s bail is capricious. It is arbitrary in the circumstances. It has to be vacated,” said Justice Mathonsi.

“I, therefore, make the following order . . . applicant be and is hereby admitted to bail pending the finalisation of his appeal against the order of his incarceration issued on 23 June 2020 by the High Court sitting in Bulawayo. The same bail conditions imposed by the court sitting in Bulawayo shall continue to subsist.”

Trouble for the eight started after Chaganda’s lawyers, Nyikadzino, Simango and Associates, informed the court he had died, but could not to produce a death certificate, resulting in a warrant of arrest being issued against their client. Still alive, Chaganda could have skipped the border, authorities believe.

Police have since launched a manhunt for him. The eight allegedly connived to steal the gold which was kept as an exhibit at Plumtree Police Station. The suspects had each been out of custody on $300 bail pending trial, but after Chaganda failed to appear in court, Justice Mabhikwa revoked bail for his other co-accused and they were locked up.

In his original arrest, Chaganda was found on a Botswana-bound train while his accomplice, Ncube, who was in his company, fled.

According to court papers, the accused are alleged to be behind the theft of gold weighing 28kg valued at US$970 000, which was stolen from the Plumtree Police Station armoury through unlawful entry on July 7, 2018. The Herald