Bail ruling for former chief Harare City Council housing inspector Roy Nyabvure was abandoned for 30 minutes after a court official whispered something to the magistrate who then adjourned the proceedings midway, only to come back and proceed to read his ruling, but now from a different document.
Nyabvure was arrested last week and appeared in court on Wednesday on the bail application and was back in court on Thursday for the ruling.
Despite that he is still testifying in court, he was arrested after deputy prosecutor general Michael Reza claimed he has already finished testifying. This is despite that he was arrested at court intending to testify in a matter that was postponed to November 28.
Magistrate Taurai Manuwere was giving his submissions pending a final say but a court official approached him and whispered in his ear, forcing him to adjourn the court for more than 30 minutes.
Initially, the submissions that he was reading were written but after the break, the judgement he read out had been printed.During the adjournment, Deputy Prosecutor-General Michael Reza entered the court and fished out fellow prosecutor, Lancelot Mutsokoti from the court and went out for about seven minutes.
Reza is battling allegations of biased prosecution by lawyer Tendai Biti who claim the deputy prosecutor general is favouring Ken Sharpe and his aides, whose company Pokugara Properties is the complainant in the Nyabvure case.
At the same time, another court official carrying a black counter book entered the court and made his way to where the magistrate was seemingly waiting for him. The man exited holding his book which seemed to have been shielding a white document that he delivered to Manuwere.
When Manuwere returned, he gave his submissions starting from the beginning and this time he did not read out the points of law as he had done before he was summoned.
He only read arguments by the state and by the applicant before denying Nyabvure bail.
“From the evidence submitted, the state argued that if released on bail the accused might abscond and not stand trial,” Manuwere said.
“The applicant in a bid to avoid arrest wrapped in legal practitioners who wrote several letters protesting the intended arrest.
“The applicant is facing a serious offence which attracts a maximum term of 15 years imprisonment, and this is an incentive for him to flee.”
Manuwere added: “The applicant is accused of circumventing the standard operating procedures for the approval of building plans by failing to follow the established procedure and plan approval.”
Nyabvure, who highlighted that he suffers from hypertension and has a brain haemorrhage as part of his argument for bail application, said his arrest was meant to instil fear and silence him in a perjury case he is testifying against Sharpe.
Nyabvure’s lawyer, Mutumbwa Mugabe has insisted that his client’s arrest was interfering with him as a state witness.
The state alleged that prior to his arrest Nyabvure had failed to comply with a summons by police which he failed to attend saying he had appointments with doctors.
According to the judgement, witnesses in Nyabvure’s case are his former associates and if granted bail the former chief inspector would likely influence his former colleagues.
“Witnesses who are his former workmates are very susceptible to being influenced and interfere with.
“From the foregoing, therefore, there are compelling reasons for denying the applicant bail resultantly the application of bail pending trial is hereby dismissed,” said Manuwere.
Nyabvure has testified in the on-perjury case against Sharpe, his aides Tatiana Aleshina and Michael Van Blerk and top Harare City Council officials.
He is still testifying in the case where Sharpe, his aides and top council officials are accused of malicious damage to property.
Nyabvure is however an accused person in another case in which land developer George Katsimberis is accused of building a house with fake plans. The cases are running parallel at the Harare Magistrate’s courts.