By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |
Controversial regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Thursday denied bail to incarcerated Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume who is facing spurious allegations that he tried to bribe Special Anti Corruption Unit (SACU) officers working on his abuse of office case.
His arrest came barely six days after High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero had granted him ZW$30 000 bail over charges of allegations of criminal abuse of office involving illegal parcelling of residential stands.
Mafume appeared before Nduna on Wednesday for initial remand. His lawyers, Thabani Mpofu and Tonderai Bhatasara challenged placement on remand of their client and applied for bail.
The State represented by Kudzai Chigwedere alleges Mafume obstructed the course of justice when he was allegedly caught attempting to bribe Edgar Dzehonye with USD$1000, allegations Mafume dismissed arguing that he only had USD$65 in his pockets.
Dzehonye is a witness in Mafume’s abuse of office case. The State also alleges that it was Mafume who called Dzehonye for a meeting in the car.
In its case against Mafume, the State additionally alleges that Mafume interfered with Edmore Nhekairo, another witness in his abuse of office case.
Mafume through his lawyer, Mpofu dismissed accusations citing the fact that he was called by Gertrude Dumba to her car, not knowing that Dzehonye was in the back seat and he was eventually nabbed by the police who told him that he was interfering with the state witness.
In his ruling, Nduna noted that the State had not put valid reasons to support a claim that if the Mafume is granted bail he is likely to abscond.
“Nothing has been put forward by the state to show that the accused can abscond,” he said.
Nduna however, accepted the State’s position that there was reasonable suspicion that Mafume had interfered with the State witnesses. He said justice was safe if the Harare Mayor is incarcerated.
“The case’s demise was being pursued
“Accused is a lawyer, why not call an intended client to the office to discuss business.
“My view is that the accused interfered with the witness.
“No condition can be put to stop the accused from breaching bail because one of those conditions has been breached already.
“His imprisonment can only protect the interest of justice,” Nduna said.
Speaking to the media, his lawyer, Bhatasara said he will approach the High Court for bail application. Mafume has been remanded to 28 January, next year. Nehanda Radio