CHITUNGWIZA town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa, who is facing charges of defrauding council of over $700 000, was yesterday placed under house arrest.
He will, however, remain in custody after the State invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
The section allows the State to detain an accused for seven days while it considers appealing against the magistrate’s decision.
Tanyanyiwa, who is represented by Mr Admire Rubaya, was granted $1 000 bail by Harare magistrate Ms Anita Tshuma.
He was ordered to surrender his passport, not to interfere with witnesses and to stay at his Mt Pleasant house.
Ms Tshuma said Tanyanyiwa will only leave his house when reporting to Avondale Police Station or when going to court.
He is also required to use the shortest possible routes to the police station and court.
However, prosecutor Mr Oliver Marwa said the State will contest the ruling.
Earlier, Anti-Corruption Commission senior investigator Mr Saviours Kufandada had asked the court to keep Tanyanyiwa in remand for another three weeks while they complete investigations.
“From the last time to date we have gone deeper into murky waters and we have since discovered that the corruption we are investigating is one of the most difficult I have ever investigated with the commission.
“We have unearthed more than what we have on record. It has become a mammoth task,” he said.
He said they have followed up on some of the counts with “a bit of difficulty”.
Mr Kufandada said they managed to locate witnesses although some were hostile and feared the power Tanyanyiwa wields.
He said they have evidence that Tanyanyiwa had employed more than 60 people who were stifling investigations.
The investigator said judging by what was on the ground, Tanyanyiwa might have instilled fear in witnesses and the fear will be reinstilled if he was released on bail.
He said some of the witnesses were on the run out of fear.
He said they worked over the weekend to investigate the matter, adding that they had unearthed shocking revelations and managed to record some statements.
Asked by Mr Rubaya if he wanted Tanyanyiwa to remain in custody indefinitely and what their motive was, Mr Kufandada said they had no motive besides fighting corruption.
He said Tanyanyiwa masterminded top shelf corruption at Chitungwiza Municipality.
Mr Rubaya pleaded with the court to balance the interests of justice and of the accused person.
“The accused has been in custody for close to 14 days since he was incarcerated, the court made a clear ruling that it was going to give the State six days to retrieve whatever documents they require,” he submitted.
He said bail was non-penal and the treatment Tanyanyiwa was getting was that of a convicted person.
“The court should not allow Kufandada to usurp its powers. The court is being asked to take a robust approach and impose any conditions as long as he is admitted to bail,” he said.
Mr Rubaya said the court could even order house arrest as long as his client was released on bail.
Tanyanyiwa is facing 52 counts of criminal abuse of office, eight counts of fraud and a count of corruptly concealing from a principal personal interest in a transaction.
On the first fraud case, Mr Marwa said Tanyanyiwa, well knowing that he had no money to buy a house, hatched a plan to defraud Chitungwiza Municipality and took US$165 000 from council to buy a house in Chisipite.
On charges of corruptly concealing a personal interest in a transaction from a principal, the State says during the period extending from September to December last year Tanyanyiwa allegedly offered the Chisipite house through his estate agent for rental to Chitungwiza director of urban planning, Mr Conrad Muchesa.
It is alleged Tanyanyiwa, with the intention to deceive, did not disclose his personal interest in this house to his principal (Chitungwiza Municipality) and council ended up paying him US$1 300 per month for five months as rental for his property.
As a result, council suffered a prejudice of US$6 500.
The town clerk is also accused of criminal abuse of duty after he allegedly corruptly acquired three commercial stands using names of three different shelf companies.
He reportedly prejudiced his employer of US$170 000 when he allegedly diverted funds meant for the purchase of three Toyota Fortuners for other senior officials to buy his Toyota Land Cruiser V8 for US$170 000.
During the period extending from September to December last year on 50 different occasions, Tanyanyiwa is accused of corruptly authorising cash payments amounting to U$337 253 to himself and other top officials. HERALD