By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has granted bail to investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who is being charged with obstructing the course of justice.
Chin’ono was arrested two weeks ago and charged with allegations of 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 alleged gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya was going to be granted bail.
Rushwaya, allegedly President Emmerson 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.
Chitapi granted Chin’ono’s appeal for bail after he was denied freedom last week by Harare regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa.
He did not add new bail conditions except that the investigative journalist should not use twitter to obstruct the course of justice. Chin’ono will be guided by the bail conditions he was given when was charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests.
Chitapi accused magistrate Gofa of misdirecting herself when she claimed Chin’ono had a propensity to commit crimes.
“The objective of the remand process is not to find the accused guilty or not.
“The learned magistrate was grossly misdirected when she referred that the accused person was guilty on a reasonable suspicion basis.
“I do not find any compelling reasons to deny the accused person bail,” Chitapi said.
Chin’ono is already on another bail after he was arrested on July 20 and charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption in government. He 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 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. Nehanda Radio