Peter Matambanadzo — THE court order used to release Ghanaian businessman Kingsley Attah Ghansah, who together with his business partner are involved in the US$6 million diamonds bribery case, is genuine and was issued above board, the Supreme Court said yesterday. Investigations by The Herald revealed that the original court order was filed with the courts and was issued procedurally.
There were reports that Ghansah fled Zimbabwe after obtaining a fake High Court warrant of release.
This was after Ghansah was convicted and jailed by Harare magistrate Mr Don Ndirowei for contravening the Gold Trade Act and was slapped with a five-year mandatory prison sentence last year.
Supreme Court registrar Mr Walter Chikwana yesterday said Ghansah was released on genuine bail of US$10 000 which was still being held at the Harare Magistrates' Court after being issued bail at the High Court by Justice Hlekani Mwayera.
"The applicant was granted bail on 10 April, 2012, that is when he was released and there is a clear paper trail of what happened," Mr Chikwana said.
"From what is contained in the fake document, it was meant to facilitate the release of property stated, but all that property was never released to the appellant, except the passport."
Mr Chikwana said the US$33 000, the exhibit of 7,189kg of gold valued at US$323 745, was forfeited to the State.
"The passport was returned to the applicant on the basis of variation of bail conditions order issued by a magistrates' court and not the fake bond of release," Mr Chikwana said.
It has since emerged that the fake "bond of release" which is being peddled as the original one was date stamped October 16, 2012, long after Ghansah had been granted bail.
"This order (which is being touted) was never issued by the High Court," said Mr Chikwana.
"It is not part of the record at the High Court and the record at the magistrates' court. It is a fake document."
Mr Chikwana noted that it would have been improper for the lawyers and the Attorney General's Office to place an application for variation of bail conditions issued by the High Court before the magistrate's court.
Ghansah was granted bail on April 5, 2012 at the High Court and was asked to deposit US$10 000 with the Clerk of Court, stay at number 24 McLaunghlin, Kensington in Harare until the determination of his appeal.
He was also to surrender his passport and report once a week at Avondale Police Station.
On May 10 2012, Ghansah's lawyers appeared before a Harare magistrate applying for variation of bail conditions, which had been issued by the High Court.
According to minutes of the record of proceedings at the magistrates court, chief law officer Mr Rodrick Tokwe wrote to the Area Public Prosecutor at the Harare Magistrate's Court stating that they had received a request for a temporary release of Ghansah's passport through his lawyers Govere Law Chambers.
"The basis of the request is that the accused's wife who is based in Ghana suffered maternity complications and gave birth to a child who suffers from Kenicterus and cannot travel," read part of the letter by Mr Tokwe.
The letter also stated that Ghansah's status was resolved with the immigration authorities despite his conviction.
It was further stated in the letter that Ghansah should give additional security before his passport could be released and one Fungai Katerere offered his vehicle a Toyota Altezza registration ACD6348 as surety for the duration Ghansah would be out of the country.
"We are, therefore, requesting your office to cause this matter to be placed before the trial magistrate to take note of the request," Mr Tokwe said in the letter.
"In the event that the said surety is reasonable, we have no objection to accede to the temporary release of the accused's passport as well as temporary relaxation of the bail conditions for the requested period."
Mr Tokwe in the letter also copied to deputy AG Mrs Florence Ziyambi, acting director public prosecutions Mr Tawanda Zvakare, chief law officer Mr Michael Mugabe and Mr M Dube and Govere Law Chambers also encouraged the Harare magistrate Area Public Prosecutor to assess the proposed conditions least they could have overlooked other conditions relevant to the request.
Meanwhile, police said yesterday that they were still investigating the case of the US$6 million alleged corruption case which has also sucked in former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation board chairman Mr Godwills Masimirembwa.
Mr Masimirembwa is alleged to have demanded and received the US$6 million bribe from the Ghanaian firm, to which Ghansah was a partner, which sought to invest in diamond mining at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange.