SUSPECTED members of the gold smuggling syndicate involving Henrietta Rushwaya and Pakistan business tycoon Ali Mohammad, have separately approached the court for fresh bail bids, citing changed circumstances.
Suspended Superintendent Douglas Shoko, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Chimhungu and Gift Karanda, who are jointly charged with Rushwaya and Muhammad on gold smuggling, illegal possession of gold and obstructing the course of justice charges, have since filed their fresh bail applications.
Shoko, through his lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, told the court that a long period had lapsed since his arrest and two of his accomplices, Rushwaya and Muhammad, have since been granted bail.
Muhammad was granted bail on November 13 last year, while Rushwaya was granted $100 000 bail on January 13, coupled with strict movement restrictions.
Her trial is likely to open as soon as the courts resume normal operations when the risk of Covid-19 infection recedes
In the application, Mr Rubaya argued that the court should treat them like their accomplices. He said the court should also consider changes brought by the new wave of Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures imposed by the Government, which makes it difficult to travel.
Mr Rubaya, in the application, said police were yet to complete investigations in the matter despite having promised to have finished by end of November last year.
"The court is urged to treat the applicant in the same manner as two of the accused persons who were granted bail by this court per His Worship Nduna ESQ that is Henrietta Rushwaya, who was granted bail on the 13th of January 2021 and Ali Mohammed who was granted on the 13th of November 2020.
"These accused persons are alleged to be the main perpetrators in the matter that the applicant is alleged to have abused his office for their benefit.
"The applicant ought to benefit from the provisions of the law in the same way as the alleged principal offenders Henrietta and Ali," he said.
He also said Shoko was not facing numerous charges like Rushwaya, who is facing smuggling and illegal possession of gold and bribery charges, and has the right to be treated equally before the law.
Mr Rubaya said Shoko has since been transferred from his station to PGHQ 'Pool' where senior police officers facing disciplinary actions are employed.
He said in that section, the senior officers do not execute their duties and there was no way he could interfere with investigations.
Chimhungu, who is being represented by lawyer Mr Brighton Pabwe, argued that police had promised to complete investigations by November 30 last year and they were yet to do so.
Mr Pabwe argued that Chimhungu has since been suspended and stripped of all police powers and as such cannot interfere with witnesses as feared by the State.
He also said Rushwaya and Muhammad have since been admitted to bail, hence he should be treated equally.
Karanda, who is being represented lawyer Mr Tungamirai Chakurira, said investigations in all his matters have been completed and there was no way he could interfere with witnesses as feared by the State.
Mr Chakurira submitted that Karanda's trial will not be held anytime soon because of the Covid-19 restrictions which saw a Direction Practice 1 being issued by the Chief Justice.
He also said that Karanda's accomplices had been granted bail and he must be treated the same.
The State is today expected to respond to the fresh bail.