Thursday, 10 June 2021


THE High Court has stopped the criminal trial of River Valley Properties chief executive officer Smelly Dube, who is facing US$9 million fraud, pending a determination by the same court of her application for the review of the court proceedings.

Dube (51) is facing fraud charges and alternatively conspiracy to criminal abuse of duty by a public officer. She is out on $100 000 bail.

As part of the bail conditions, Dube was ordered to reside at her house in Gweru until the matter is finalised. She is also required not to set foot at her business premises for seven days unless the investigating officer has granted her clearance to do so.

Further, the court ordered Dube not to interfere with witnesses and investigations and has to report once a week at the nearest police station. Dube has filed an application for review of proceedings at the High Court under case number 119/21.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo suspended the proceedings at the Gweru Magistrate’s Court under case number CRB GWP 343/21 following an urgent chamber application by Dube through her lawyer, Mr Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa Legal Practice.

“It is ordered that pending the determination of the applicant’s review application filed under cover HC 118/21, the proceedings at Gweru Magistrate’s Court (CRB GWP 343/21) be stayed. At the resolution of the review application filed by applicant under case number HC118/21, this order lapses,” ruled Justice Moyo.

In her court papers citing regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Dube argued that the remand proceedings were full of gross irregularities.

“I have thus, under cover of case number HC 118/21, filed an application to have the proceedings afore described reviewed and set aside. The application has reasonably good prospects of success,” she said.

Dube said the respondents were relying on illegalities as a basis for her arraignment for trial.

“It is therefore imperative that pending the determination of applicant’s application for review filed under cover of case number HC118/21, in respect of the applicant be urgently stayed,” she said.

In her application for review, Dube said the fact that she was unlawfully arrested and charged, her appearance before Mr Manwere’s court was unlawful. Dube’s lawyers said police were unable to take their client to the police station to formally charge her.

“The applicant’s matter was placed before the first respondent (Mr Manwere) without her having been formally charged and afforded an opportunity to respond to the charge. This was so because applicant’s physical, mental and medical wellbeing did not permit that Dube be uplifted to the police station to meaningfully attend to the charges, and was in no state to understand or participate in the process thereof,” argued the lawyers.

Charges against Dube arose when she allegedly connived with former Midlands Governor, Jason Machaya, who was jailed over land deals last September, Matilda Manhambo, a former housing officer in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and Shepherd Marweyi, the former District Administrator, to be allocated 2 169 stands where beneficiaries were prejudiced of more than US$9,4 million.

The allocated land was developed without engineering designs. In September last year Machaya and provincial planning officer Chaisayanyerwa Chibururu were each sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for unlawfully allocating 17 799 stands to land developers in Gokwe town, who in turn gave them 1 000 stands worth US$900 000 which was computed as $900 000 in local currency. Chronicle


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