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Marry Chiwenga approaches High Court for bail

by Staff Reporter
18 Dec 2019 at 12:10hrs | Views
The estranged wife of the Vice President, Retired General Constantino Chiwenga, Marry Mubaiwa Chiwenga who is facing charges of attempted murder, externalisation of funds, money laundering and fraud has approached the High Court in a bid to get her freedom.

She has filed before the High Court an application for bail in relation to the attempted murder case while appealing against the dismissal of her bail application by a Harare magistrate in respect of the other three charges emanating from her arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission as the court feared she would abscond trial.

She was remanded to December 30 in custody by Deputy Chief Magistrate, Christen Mberewere. The Deputy Chief Magistrate in his ruling said it would be easy for her to abscond court as she has properties outside of Zimbabwe like many other high profile people who have absconded, she is no exception.

Marry Chiwenga was denied bail on all four charges being raised against her which were dealt with in two stages by the courts. On the charge of attempted murder, she was remanded in custody to December 30, with instructions to approach the High Court as it is a third schedule offence and the Magistrate court has no jurisdiction over it.

The State which was represented by Michael Reza and Jonathan Murombedzi, Tinashe Makiya and Francesca Mukumbira successfully opposed her being granted bail on condition that she was a security threat to the Vice President after her first failed attempt at murdering him in South Africa.

The lead prosecutor, Reza submitted before court that the Second Lady is a flight risk due to the nature of offences against her and the amounts of money involved.

"The offences the accused person is facing are fairly serious as most of them attract a custodial sentence," Reza submitted.

"The amount externalised is in excess of a million US Dollars and the money laundered put together will amount to close to US$2 million and this is a substantive amount in any language. The accused is married to the Vice President and clearly, she has a very high standard of living and to move from an opulent house to a prison cell will make any reasonable person want to flee."

Reza also submitted before court that Marry had refused to hand over her diplomatic passport to the arresting officer which he said was indication enough that she intended to flea the country.

The court also heard that there are other matters which are still under investigation which will likely see more charges being preferred against the Second Lady.

"The investigating officer advises me that the accused is under investigation of the matter in which she handled funds from Musha Mukadzi, how she took foreign currency from her security detail which was given to them as allowances for foreign trips and that four previous winners on the Miss Zimbabwe pageant won motor vehicles and all of them were registered in her name and ownership was not changed technically making her the owner of those vehicles," said Reza.

Reza also submitted that the courts had become a source of ridicule under the ‘catch and release' narrative which has seen a lot of high profile people jumping the borders of Zimbabwe after being granted bail.

The investigating officer, Victor Masimba testified in court reiterating the same statements raised by Reza.

During cross examination, Marry's lawyers, Taona Nyamakura and Mzokuthula Mbuyisa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm told the court that her health should be considered in granting her bail and that her diplomatic passport would make it impossible for her to run away as she would be extradited without difficulty.

The defence counsel also told the court that denying her bail would mean denying her minor children of their right to have their mother's tender care and nurturing.

"Allegations are that during the period extending from October 2018 to May 2019, the accused would instruct Memory Chakuinga, who is the Managing Director of two South African based companies namely Falcon Projects Pvt Ltd and Bonnette Electrical Pvt Ltd which are based in Pretoria, South Africa to raise proforma invoices for the purchases of either event tents and chairs or prepaid household electrical meters.

The invoices would then be referred to CBZ Bank on the pretext that the accused wanted to purchase the event tents, chairs and prepaid meters for consumption in Zimbabwe, when in actual fact the accused knew very well that after the funds were transferred to South Africa, she would then divert them for other personal purposes," reads part of the document.

According to the document, the funds were diverted to the purchase of two range rover vehicles which are registered in the name of the accused in South Africa worth half a million dollars while US$36 thousand was used for the purchase of furniture which is alleged to have been delivered at house number 1309 Kingstone Heath Close, Waterkloof Golf Estate, Pretoria, South Africa.

"One hundred and forty-two thousand dollars was used for the purchase of house number 1309 Kingstone Heath Close, Waterkloof Golf Estate, Pretoria South Africa and the house was registered in the name of LaChelle Travel and Tours Pvt Ltd which the accused is the sole Shareholder.

It is alleged that on the 8th October 2018, the accused sent her driver Carrington Kazingizi and Terrence Mutandwa to the Republic of China with United States Dollars cash amounting to one hundred and fourteen thousand dollars (US$114 000-00). The money exited Zimbabwe through Robert Mugabe International Airport without any declaration being made to the authorities which is in contravention of the Exchange Control Act, Chapter 22:05," reads the document.

According to ZACC, the fraud case has one count and the Vice President of Zimbabwe Comrade Constantino Guvheya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga is the complainant.

It is alleged that during the year 2019 on the date to the prosecutor unknown, the accused misrepresented to Judge President George Mutandwa Chiweshe that herself and the complainant had consented to wed under the Marriage Act, Chapter 5:11 under the marriage licence on the 2nd of July 2019 at their place of residence at number 614 Nick Price Drive, Borrowdale Brooke, Harare.

"The accused then submitted copies of national identity documents of both parties to the Judge President George Mutandwa Chiweshe without the knowledge and consent of the complainant.

The Judge President then contacted the Acting Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi to look for a magistrate to solemnize the marriage.

The Acting Chief Magistrate, Munamato Mutevedzi as the highest-ranking marriage officer in the Judiciary decided to preside over the wedding ceremony and the national identity documents were forwarded to him.

The Acting Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi, upon noticing that the passport size photos and address of the parties were not included, he contacted the Secretary of the Judiciary Service Commission Walter Chikwana who in turn contacted the accused with the request," notes the document.

Acting on misrepresented facts, the requested items were delivered to Walter Chikwana who forwarded them to Munamato Mutevedzi to facilitate the registration for special marriage licence for the complainant and accused.

"Acting on the misrepresentation, the marriage officer caused the completion of registration forms and the marriage certificates in preparation for the ceremony. When the accused was doing all this, the complainant was bed ridden and not in a condition to consent to the marriage.

After the applications for special marriage licences were made, a Duplicate original register MR No: 0222402 was prepared. On the Duplicate Original Register copy, the marriage was between Constantino G.D.N. Chiwenga and Marry Mubaiwa.

On the Register it was endorsed or indicated that the marriage was by own consent through the misrepresentation by the accused whilst in actual fact, the complainant had not consented.

On 22 June 2019, the accused together with complainant proceeded to South Africa where the complainant was to receive emergency medical attention as he was critically ill.

On 2 July 2019, the marriage Officer Acting Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi proceeded to number 614 Nick Price Drive Borrowdale Brooke so as to solemnize the marriage with all the necessary documents for the marriage to take place. However, he could not get access to the house.

By such misrepresentation, the accused caused prejudice to the good administration and reputation of complainant" said the document.

Allegations against her of attempted murder are that on 22 June 2019, the complainant, Vice President Chiwenga, was airlifted to South Africa for emergency medical attention, however upon arrival, the accused forced the complainant to stay at a Hotel in Pretoria for 24 hours only for his security team to force their way to take him to the hospital.

It is alleged she ordered the security personnel to excuse her and the General in his private ward alleging she wanted privacy with her husband, only for her to unlawfully remove the medical intravenous giving set as well as the central venous catheter which was inserted into the Vice President who began bleeding profusely.

She allegedly disappeared from the hospital after the hospital staff was alerted by the security personnel.

Source - ZBC