Friday 1 May 2020


A Chitungwiza man accused of generating and peddling fake news on social media platform WhatsApp, was yesterday granted $1 000 bail coupled with stringent conditions after spending 10 days in remand prison.

Lovemore Zvekusekwa (36), a civil engineer with High Range Resources, allegedly created and shared a false and unsigned press statement purportedly issued by President Mnangagwa headlined: “Extension of lockdown period by 13 days only”.

He is facing charges of allegedly “publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State”. He was denied bail at the magistrates’ courts despite the prosecution consenting to granting him bail.

Through his lawyer, Mr Jeremiah Bhamu, Zvekusekwa appealed to the High Court for bail pending trial.

Justice Jacob Manzunzu allowed the appeal for bail saying the lower court had misdirected itself in denying Zvokusekwa bail where the State had correctly consented to the relief sought.

The judge did not give full reasons of his judgment saying this would be made available in due course. 

In the lower court, the trial magistrate, Ms Judith Taruvinga, denied Zvekusekwa bail saying while the statements attributed to the suspect were not in the best interest of public policy, the court was not addressed on Zvekusekwa’s propensity to commit further crimes if granted bail.

Ms Taruvinga also refused to grant Zvekusekwa bail on the grounds that the likely sentence upon conviction could induce him to flee the country.

In addition, the magistrate held a strong view that the State’s concession to bail was absolutely misplaced considering the circumstances of the matter.

If convicted, Zvekusekwa faces 20 years’ imprisonment. In his appeal, Zvekusekwa wanted to have the magistrate’s decision set aside, arguing it constituted a gross mis-direction. 

He appeared at the magistrate’s court for initial remand on April 20 and was remanded in custody to May 13 pending completion of investigations.

The State had consented to Zvekusekwa being granted bail in terms of certain provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which the magistrate turned down.
Mr Edmore Mavuto from the Prosecutor-General’s Office appeared for the State. Herald


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