By Loice Takarindwa
Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje mentioned details that never appeared during court proceedings as he turned down application for bail by an acused.
Mambanje is presiding over a case in which Takudzwa Matsikira, Tinashe Chiputura and Panashe Chiputura are being acused of money laundering yet the real culprits have not been brought to book.
An appeal made to the High Court through the third acused(Panashe Chiputura’s) lawyer Tamutswa Muzana of the Tapera and Muzana and Partners shows the Court crafted it’s own evidence. The court said that the acused went to Ghana an evidence that never appeared during court proceedings.
“The court from nowhere made a finding that the 3rd acused went to Ghana when the State never made this averment as well as the investigating officer.”
“The Court a quo thus relied on evidence of its own creation when it made a finding of fact that the 3rd Appellant went to Ghana and even alleged that the 3rd acused has made it a close guarded secret when there is nowhere the state alleged that. This was a misdirection by the court.”
Emerging details have also indicated that the 3rd acused does not have traveling documents and was actually in the country at a time when the said he went to Ghana.
The following is an extract of from the ruling made by Mambanje in dismissing the bail application by the accused
“The two are facing charges of money laundering in.contravention of section 8(2) of Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act(Chapter 9:24). Both have denied the charge.The allegations are that the 2, acting in connivance opened 3 prepaid Banc ABC Visa Bank Accounts. The accounts were respectively deposited with a total of US $110 000, the source of which was not explained giving rise to the charges.”
“The third acused was in Ghana on the 28th of October. He is silent on the purpose of his visit to Ghana . The funds were withdrawn on 24 October and as earlier said, in Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast and Ghana are neighbours in the Western part of Africa. The acused does not mention when he left Zimbabwe and when he entered Ghana. His travel itinerary is his safeguarded secret. Despite his veil of secrecy, what the state has convincingly raised is that the acused, having been in the neighbouring Ghana, had passed through Ivory Coast to withdraw the money. The visa cards are yet to be recovered. Accomplices are yet to be accounted for.”
“This court is convinced that the burden is heavier against the plea for freedom. For these reasons, I find that applicants may abscond to avoid trial. The case against them appears formidable. The administration of justice would be compromised if the applicants are granted bail as he maybe tempted to flee to avoid trial. The applicant is not a suitable candidate for bail.”