31 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Zimright Manager Makes Fresh Bail Application

Photo: MDC
File Photo:Zimbabwean Police

Zimbabwe Human Rights programme manager Leo Chamahwinya, accused of tampering with the voters' roll, yesterday made a fresh bail application citing changed circumstances. Chamahwinya is jointly charged with Farai Bhani, Tatenda Chinaka, Dorcas Shereni and Zimrights director Okay Machisa who has since been granted US$500 bail.

They are being charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud and an alternative charge of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

Through his lawyer, Mr Admire Rubaya, Chamahwinya argues that he should be treated in the same manner as Machisa who was released on bail arguing that they are facing similar charges.

"There is no basis of any differentiation between these two accused persons and also there is no basis for this honourable court to treat them differently," argued Mr Rubaya.

"The applicant was allegedly implicated by co-accused persons just like Okay Machisa and there is no direct evidence whatsoever linking him to the offence in question besides the alleged implication by accused which is denied."

The lawyer further argued that his client was never found in possession of the alleged fraudulent voter registration adding that it was clear that his circumstances were equal to Machisa's.

Chamahwinya was arrested in December last year and six weeks have lapsed since his arrest and the defence felt there was no basis for the State to request more time to investigate. Mr Rubaya said there should be no interference with the administration of justice and the liberty of "an accused person who is presumed innocent pending the outcome of his trial".

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza is expected to respond to the application today. The five are accused of trying to discredit the country's voter' roll by manufacturing counterfeit copies of the certificate of registration as a voter.

The certificate of registration was allegedly meant for completion with false names of alleged registered voters.

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