Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—
One of the suspects accused of attempting to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy Farm in Mazowe last Friday claimed some unnamed officials in the Zimbabwe National Army were aware of the operation as he constantly communicated with them. To prove his claims, Borman Ngwenya (30) – who is a member of the ZNA attached to 1 Field Regiment – requested the court to order Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and NetOne to produce printouts of his mobile number and that of the army officials he communicated with.
Ngwenya, through his lawyers, Mr Musindo Hungwe and Mr Exactly Mangezi, also hinted that he intended to challenge the Prosecutor-General’s selective prosecution by withdrawing charges against two of his alleged accomplices Solomon Makumbe (29) and Silas Pfupa (37).
He said the Prosecutor-General was in breach of Section 56 (1) of the Constitution that guarantees equality and non-discrimination.
“Your Worship in his defence, my client intends to prove telephone communications between him and certain members of the ZNA. It is the bedrock of his defence. We approached Econet for a printout and we were advised they need a court order to release that. Our request is that Econet be ordered to furnish us with a detailed printout of his number and also NetOne to be ordered to furnish details of number 0716800343 with whom the accused had pertinent communications which relate to the charges before this court,” he said.
Mr Hungwe also placed the State on notice that he intends to make an application for quashing of charges of terrorism on the basis that Alpha Omega Dairy was not a State property.
“If the property does not fall under State property, you cannot talk of sabotage or terrorism. That charge deals with offences against the State. You can choose arson or malicious damage to property.
“The State should furnish us with proof of ownership of the dairy because we have it on good authority that it is owned by a company not an individual,” he said.
Mr Hungwe said they were going to call Makumbe as their defence witness before requesting the State to furnish them with Makumbe and Pfupa’s statements to the police on the treason charges adding that they were of corroborative value to Ngwenya’s case.
He also argued that there was improper splitting of charges by the State.
However, in response prosecutor Mr Michael Reza said the offences of possession of weaponry for sabotage and money laundering for terrorism purposes were committed on different dates hence the splitting of charges.
He said he could not furnish the defence with documents relating to treason charges since investigations were still underway.
On the issue of selective prosecution, Mr Reza said the State decides who to prosecute and who to make a witness.
He added that the request by the defence to have proof of ownership of Alpha Omega Dairy was a ploy to delay proceedings.
After hearing submissions from both parties, regional magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni remanded the matter to today for ruling on the defence’s applications.
Ngwenya’s alleged accomplice, Owen Kuchata (34), who is the leader of Zimbabwe People’s Front political party, was sentenced to nine years for the sabotage attempt.
The State is going to use Kuchata as its witness.
It is alleged that on January 22 around 4pm, police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and 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.