By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Harare Regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa has denied bail to incarcerated investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono arguing that the accused had the propensity to continue committing offences.
Chin’ono was arrested last week and charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice after he allegedly tweeted that he had spoken with some members of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who told him that gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya was going to be granted bail.
Rushwaya, Mnangagwa’s relative and former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) boss was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport after she was caught attempting to smuggle 6.09kgs of gold to Dubai worth over USD$300 000.
Chin’ono was remanded in custody by Gofa on Tuesday on charges of allegations. He was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
State prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti argued that Chin’ono was not a right candidate for bail because he allegedly committed a crime while on bail. He added that the investigative journalist was a flight risk.
“Court is inclined to believe the state’s submissions that he has a propensity to continue committing offences as he committed this offence with another matter pending before the courts.
“In this case, the accused is denied bail and has to remain in custody until trial commences,” ruled the magistrate.
Chin’ono is already on bail after he was arrested on July 20 and charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption in government, spent 45 days at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison before being released by the High Court.
The investigative journalist played a crucial role in exposing alleged corruption by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins, the US $60 million Dax Covidgate scandal that saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
He was arrested along with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala who have since been released on bail by the High Court in Harare.
Sikhala and Ngarivhume attended court today in solidarity with their fellow Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison detainees. Nehanda Radio