Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe Ahmed Al -Jeeran has been implicated as the ring- leader in the human trafficking syndicate that has seen over 200 female job seekers lured to Kuwait on the pretext they will secure decent employment, when, in actual fact, they will be sold and forced into prostitution and other menial jobs.
Al-Jareen, using his powers as the ambassador, allegedly connived with his secretary, Brenda Avril May, and advertised for nurse aide vacancies in Kuwait.
They indicated that those interested should contact May who would then organise their travel arrangements.
This came out during the bail hearing of May who was re-arrested yesterday.
Al-Jeeran and May were implicated by some of the victims who managed to return home with the help of Zimbabwean officials in Kuwait.
May was released on Monday by the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the police were advised to proceed by a way of summons.
However, May was rearrested after fresh details emerged.
She is being represented by Mr David Dhumbura.
Representing the State, Mr Peter Kachirika and Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa opposed bail and called the investigating officer Detective Sergeant George Garauzive who gave evidence in support of refusal of bail.
Det Sgt Garauzive said if convicted the accused persons faced life in prison or a minimum of 10 years behind bars.
“Your Worship, the penalty might induce fear and force the accused person to flee if granted bail. We are strongly opposing bail because her accomplices, most of them in Kuwait, are yet to be arrested,” he said.
He added: “As the secretary to the ambassador, it was easy for her to process visas for the victims in her personal capacity. She did all this with the blessings of the former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe Ahmed Al-Jeeran whom she connived with.”
He further said that May communicated directly with the victims who were unaware of what was to befall them in Kuwait.
During cross-examination, Mr Dhumbura argued that his client was not a flight risk adding that she did not flee when she was released on summons.
He further said that May was not responsible for issuing visas at the embassy.
Mr Dhumbura, however, argued that the police had “smuggled” his client into court after she had been released by the PG’s Office.
He said the facts submitted to the PG’s Office on Monday were the same facts she had been brought to court on adding that there were no fresh details as alleged by the police.
The magistrate, Mr Elijah Makomo, questioned the police as to why they did not bring May on summons.
“Are you still taking instructions from the PG’s Office or you are now doing what you want? What has changed from what you were instructed yesterday (Monday)?”
Det Sgt Garauzive maintained that they prepared a new request for remand form after new details emerged and re-arrested May.
She was remanded in custody to today for bail ruling.
It is the State’s case that May recruited Edith Chapo, Stella Jakarasi and Cynthia Dube among others. She told the victims that their travelling requirements were to be catered for by their “employers”.
When they got to Kuwait their passports and mobile phones were confiscated and they were placed under house arrest where they were abused, worked as maids for long hours without food.
They were later rescued by the Zimbabwean Embassy officials in Kuwait who facilitated their return home.
Meanwhile, police have also arrested an employment agent, James Tungamirai Maroodza (30), who runs Employment Engine Global Services.
Maroodza reportedly placed an advertisement in a local newspaper to the effect that maids were wanted in Kuwait at a salary of $600 per month.
Sylvia Chabikwa and her sister, Agness, responded to the advert and were advised by Maroodza to go for HIV tests which they did.
Maroodza is said to have facilitated their visas and air tickets.
On arrival in Kuwait, their passports were confiscated by immigration officials who handed them over to an agent identified as Hannan.
Hannan took them to a certain place where he forced them to remove their clothes and put on Moslem regalia which he provided.
According to the State, the two sisters were subjected to slavery and all sorts of abuse at the hands of their “employers”.
The pair was also rescued through the Zimbabwean Embassy.
Maroodza was remanded in custody to today for bail application.
This brings the number to nine of people arrested so far in connection with the case.
Seven other accused persons are on $300 bail each.