1 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Harare Court Frees MDC-T Officials

FOUR MDC-T officials arrested last year on charges of impersonating police officers and contravening the Official Secrets Act were on Thursday removed from remand, by magistrate Tendai Mahwe.

Thabani Mpofu, Felix Matsinde, Mehluli Moyo, all former prosecutors and Warship Dumba, a former Councillor in Harare's Mt Pleasant suburb, celebrated their freedom following Mahwe's pronouncement that "it is of no use to keep the accused persons on remand".

Prosecutors had applied for further remand but Mahwe rejected the prosecution's plea.

"The accused persons have a pending case on the matter at the Constitutional court; it is of no use keeping them in remand. Further remand is hereby dismissed," Mahwe ruled.

For the State, prosecutor Sharon Mashavira had argued that the state needed more time for investigations hence the accused should be retained on remand.

It is the state's that police detectives received a tip-off from anonymous sources on March 17 last year that Mpofu and accomplices were in illegal possession of court dockets.

It is further alleged that the four accused persons were privately compiling that information with the aim of discrediting the country's judicial system.

Prosecutors further allege that the dockets also contained information that the police and the then Attorney General and now Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana had failed or refused to investigate cases of corruption involving prominent government officials.

Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri was also fingered in the alleged cover-up plot to divert attention from those targeted by the "graft investigations".

Following the tip off, detectives proceeded to Mpofu's residence and confiscated some of the documents, a laptop and a browning pistol.

The four are said to have told police investigators that they were working for the MDC-T as legal advisors to then Prime Minister Morgan and their work was funded externally through a conduit organisation called Institute of Democratic Alliance of Zimbabwe or (IDAZIM).

The court ruled that if the state so wishes it can proceed by way of summons. The case of the four officials resulted in the arrest and harassment of prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of charges of obstructing justice. Mtetwa was later acquitted of all charges.

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