Monday, 6 June 2016

GUSHUNGO BOMBER ACQUITTAL CONTESTED

The National Prosecuting Authority has filed an appeal to the High Court contesting the recent acquittal of a soldier Borman Ngwenya on allegations of attempting to throw petrol bombs at the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy Farm.


 Ngwenya was last month freed by a Harare magistrate on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove a case against him.

The magistrate, Ms Fadzai Mthombeni ruled that from the trial, it was clear that 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.

In the notice of appeal filed at the High Court on May 27 this year, Ngwenya and the trial magistrate Ms Mthombeni were listed as respondents. In the filed papers, the Prosecutor-General wants a re-trial, accusing the trial magistrate of failing to properly deal with the matter.

The prosecution argued in appeal that the magistrate erred in throwing out the case on the basis that Alpha Omega Farm was a private property.

“The second respondent erred in fact in holding that the intended target for sabotage or terrorism is a private property when evidence from police witnesses and Owen Kuchata clearly proves that Alpha Omega Dairies is a property owned by the President,” read the papers.

A chief law officer in the NPA Mr Justin Uladi deposed an affidavit supporting the appeal.
Mr Uladi’s analysis of the matter suggested that the magistrate did not properly handle the matter.
“I have noted that the evidence led by the State is largely uncontroverted. The evidence against the first respondent is that the first respondent was found in possession of explosives, and that he had actually purchased the material used to make or manufacture the explosives, and that the explosives were intended for use in acts of terrorism,” read the affidavit.

Mr Uladi said the judgment by Ms Mthombeni was flawed. “My view of the second respondent’s judgment is that it is flawed. I say so because the second respondent failed to grasp the fact that at all relevant times, the intended target was the property of the President of Zimbabwe.

“The first respondent’s co-accused who testified as a State witness clearly stated that (they) targeted Alpha Omega Dairy Farm, because it belongs to the President,” said Mr Uladi.
The State wants the magistrate’s decision to be set aside.

It is also the prosecution’s request that the court must order a fresh trial in the matter before a different magistrate.

Ngwenya was arrested together with Solomon Makombe and Silas Pfupa, who both have links with the military, and Owen Kuchata, leader of the little known Zimbabwe People Front political party.

It was alleged that on January 22, at 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. herald

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