20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Zimrights Officials Refusal of Further Remand Bid Thrown Out

FOUR ZimRights officials accused of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State yesterday had their application for refusal of further remand thrown out by a Harare magistrate. Dorcas Shereni, Tatenda Chinaka, Leo Chamahwinya and Farai Bhani are all denying the charge of forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud and an alternative charge of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

Magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe ruled that the police needed ample time to investigate the matter.

"The police must be allowed to investigate this complex matter unhindered," said Mr Mahwe dismissing the quartet's application.

Through their lawyer Mr Trust Maanda the quartet had applied for refusal of further remand arguing that the State had failed to provide them with a trial date.

Mr Maanda further argued that at the last remand hearing, Mr Mahwe had endorsed that if the trial date was not provided, he was going to remove his clients from remand.

Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza opposed the application arguing it had no merit.

"This is one of those applications made by the defence as a matter of course," said Mr Reza.

"They are just seeking sympathy from this honourable court.

"Investigations are on-going and Mr Maanda conceded that ZimRights offices in Bulawayo and Masvingo had been raided by the police and this shows that investigations are on-going."

After the ruling, Mr Mahwe remanded the matter to March 4. Bhani and Chinaka are still in custody while Chamahwinya and Shereni were granted bail by the High Court.

It is alleged Bhani registered himself as a voter at Dema Registrar General's Office and acquired a certificate of registration as a voter.

He is alleged to have taken the certificate to Chinaka together with reams of green flimsy papers.

The pair, it is alleged, scanned the received copy of the certificate of registration as a voter and printed counterfeit copies using the supplied flimsy papers.

They allegedly filled fake names on them and Shereni would give the documents to her subordinate Chamahwinya upon his request at the ZimRights offices.

The State says Chamahwinya would make copies of all the supplied fake documents which he would officially use in ZimRights analysis.

The four ZimRights officials it is alleged later planned to use the information to criticise the set up, records and functions of the Registrar General's Office of Zimbabwe.

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