Friday, 27 May 2016

STATE FAILS TO NAIL GWERU MAYOR

GWERU Provincial Magistrate, Phathekile Msipa, yesterday blasted the State for failing to put its papers in order in the fraud case involving Gweru Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and town clerk Daniel Matawu. 

She then ordered prosecutors to proceed by way of summons. The mayor and town clerk who were facing criminal abuse of office, theft and fraud charges were arrested in December last year.

Msipa had set yesterday as the trial date after refusing an application by the State to further remand the two.  After a number of false starts, the State led by prosecutor, Helen Karonga, once again said it was not ready for trial yesterday.

In her ruling Msipa said the State was infringing on the Constitutional rights of the accused persons to be tried on time and the matter would proceed by way of summons. After her ruling, Kombayi and Matawu were handed back their passports and $200 each had deposited after being granted bail.

“The postponement of the matter has been at the instigation of the State and the court was not objecting. The accused have suffered prejudice by the remands and it is unhealthy for the accused to remain on remand as the State fails to take the matter for trial. The accused are unable to plan for their lives as their movement is restricted by bail conditions,” said Msipa.

“So the question here is if the State is complying with the Constitutional provision. The reply I get is the State is failing to comply. The State made a concession that it won’t be prejudiced if the matter proceeds by way of summons and therefore the accused are removed from remand and the State will proceed by way of summons.”

Reginald Chidawanyika, Kombayi’s lawyer, said after the mayor was arrested last year, the assumption was that police had concluded their investigations.
“When they were brought to court the assumption was that the investigations had been completed and we prepared for trial, but obviously it’s not ready,” he said.

Kombayi and Matawu were initially charged with the late deputy mayor Cllr Artwell Matyorauta who passed away last month due to a heart problem.

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