Tuesday, 10 May 2016

GUSHUNGO BOMBING : SOLDIER ACQUITTED

ONE of the four men accused of attempting to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy Farm was yesterday freed after the State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Regional magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni ruled that from the trial, it was clear that Borman Ngwenya was a spy working for the military and that his arrest was not justified.
Ngwenya was facing two counts of possessing weaponry for sabotage and money laundering.

However, Ms Mthombeni blasted the State for “unfair and unnecessary” splitting of the charges.

“The accused in his defence said it was a military-sanctioned operation which was supervised by Major Mashava and the State did not call its main witness, Major Mashava, to dispute what the accused was saying.

“The State could have just called Major Mashava as its only witness to disapprove the defence’s case because most of the witnesses, who are police officers, actually corroborated accused person’s claims,” she said.

She questioned why the State dropped Major Mashava as its witness at the last minute.
“The State called Major Mashava and let him get into the witness box but excused him. He did not testify and that means the State did not call its main witness. By not calling him, it was not an oversight by the State but a well-calculated move. They well appreciated that their case was hinged on Major Mashava hence his not disapproving accused’s defence meant it remained unchallenged,” she said.

She added: “The accused did not dispute that he was found with the bombs, that he went to Zvimba and to Alpha Omega Dairy Farm and also that he visited the Chinese embassy. There was no need for the State to try and prove what was not in dispute leaving the disputed issues.”
The magistrate added that the State failed to nail Ngwenya before praising the defence.
“As the matter came to an end, accused’s defence stood taller than the State case. It simply shows that Ngwenya participated in all this as a spy to capture Kuchata. His arrest and his appearance in court was not justified through evidence. When all has been said and done, the State failed to prove accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt, therefore he is acquitted in both counts,” Ms Mthombeni said.

She also highlighted that Ngwenya produced evidence to prove his innocence in the form of phone records between him and Major Mashava which showed that the two were in constant touch.

In his defence, Ngwenya told the court that on the day they were arrested, they were tipped by Major Mashava on how they were going to be ambushed and arrested. He said Major Mashava told them to comply with the police.

Ms Mthombeni said by not resisting arrest and complying with police orders, it showed that Ngwenya and his two alleged accomplices were working on Major Mashava’s instructions.
“On the day of the arrest, the three – Ngwenya, Silas Pfupa and Solomon Makumbe -complied with the police and Kuchata resisted. Kuchata was handcuffed with chains while the three were tied with shoelaces or ropes.

“Why were they treated differently? Is this the procedure when arresting dangerous criminals and why were the police not bothered about the other three?”

Ngwenya was represented by Mr Exactly Mangezi while Mr Michael Reza prosecuted.
Ngwenya, however, is not yet a free man after all since he still has a pending case of treason in which he is jointly charged with Kuchata, Pfupa and Makumbe.

It was alleged that on January 22, around 4pm, police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and a tuckshop during the night.

Acting on the tip-off, police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target. At around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the dairy’s processing plant and immediately arrested them.

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