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Land baron gets $55 000 bail

Suspected land baron, Felix Munyaradzi was yesterday freed on $55 000 bail and other stringent conditions after the High Court found no compelling reasons to keep him in custody pending trial on charges of selling State land and unserviced stands.

Delatfin Properties Director Felix Munyaradzi
Delatfin Properties Director Felix Munyaradzi

Munyaradzi reportedly duped a number of people, including Delish Nguwaya, Epworth schoolteacher Mrs Maria Gabaza, senior police officer Commissioner Erasmus Makodza and a Harare man, Mr Ronald Dondo, in a residential stands deal.

The ruling follows an appeal against Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna’s decision to deny Munyaradzi bail on the four counts of fraud after fears he would interfere with investigations since most of the witnesses were his workers.

Justice Tawanda Chitapi allowed the appeal by Munyaradzi after finding that the prosecution failed to lead evidence to reasonably conclude that Munyaradzi’s release would jeopardise investigations.

“The State did not establish compelling reasons and the facts relied on are based on conjecture,” he said, agreeing with all the submissions by Munyaradzi’s lawyer, Mr Nickiel Mushangwe.

The State represented by Mrs Wadzanayi Badhalani conceded that bail for the need to allow the police to pick and preserve evidence was improper at law, a concession which Justice Chitapi remarked was properly made, saying it should be known that investigations precede arrest.

Justice Chitapi ruled that there was nothing in terms of the law that said “the court must assist the police in their investigations and evidence gathering’.

“There must be evidence that the accused will interfere with witnesses, intimidate them and destroy evidence,” he said.

After the remand court denied him bail, Munyaradzi approached the High Court for intervention arguing that the magistrate misdirected himself in denying him bail on the grounds of interference.

He also argued the allegations of fraud against him were flimsy and the magistrate did not properly apply his mind to the facts and law on the matter.

He further argued that he was a suitable candidate for bail and sought to quash the lower court’s decision.

Charges against Munyaradzi arose in 2015, after his company, Delatfin Investment (Pvt) Ltd entered into a swap deal with Mr Nguwaya for the sale of stands in exchange for a Toyota Prado.

Delatfin Investment sold three residential stands — Numbers 1572, 1516 and 1471 — in Sandton Park, Mt Hampden, worth US$50 000.

Mr Nguwaya is alleged to have surrendered the Prado (registration ADQ 3688) and an agreement of sale was signed on February 2, 2018. It is alleged that Munyaradzi went on to sell the stands to other people, which prompted Mr Nguwaya to engage him.

The court heard that Munyaradzi then agreed to compensate Mr Nguwaya with eight smaller stands in Sandton Park, Harare.

But Munyaradzi allegedly went on to sell one of the stands to Tawanda Mashumba for US$30 000.

It is the State’s case that Mr Nguwaya was aware that the stand in question had already been sold. The Herald