|Sikhala removed from remand|
|Wednesday, 20 June 2012 12:00|
FORMER St Mary’s legislator and MDC 99 leader Job Sikhala, who allegedly raped his personal assistant several times and impregnated her, has been removed from remand. He also stands accused of stealing from the woman, who later suffered a miscarriage.
Sikhala (40) successfully applied for refusal of further remand after prosecutor Mrs Kudzai Chigwedere had sought for a postponement of the case, which was due for trial.
Mrs Chigwedere said she needed time to secure the attendance of the witness who was deported to South Africa.
“Your worship, the State is seeking a longer remand because the complainant was in custody when the matter was set down and has since been deported. We are sorting out papers to have the complainant back in the country to testify,” she said.
In response, Sikhala opposed the application saying, “I am opposed to the attempt to postpone my trial. When the trial date was set, I wanted to make an application to be removed from remand but the State said it was ready for trial.
“Complainant was in remand prison since December last year and was supposed to be freed in February this year after completing her prison term but through my investigations she was deported on June 2. They kept her in prison specifically for this matter.
“The investigating officer knew the trial was supposed to start but assisted the complainant to leave the country. I therefore demand to be tried today failure of which I pray to the court to remove me from remand. For the State to request a longer remand would be stamping on my liberty.”
After hearing submissions from both parties, regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya ruled in favour of Sikhala and ordered the State to proceed by way of summons.
It is alleged that sometime in June last year Sikhala went to South Africa to source financial backing for his party and his fundraiser Okkie Volschenk offered him a place to stay in Durban. The complainant stayed at the same place. After being introduced to the complainant, Sikhala offered her a job as his personal assistant after telling her that he owned a shopping centre in Zimbabwe.
He allegedly offered her a US$400 monthly salary and 20 percent of all money raised for his party adding that he would organise a work permit for her. On June 23 last year, Volschenk, Aaron Muzungu and Sikhala left South Africa for Zimbabwe and allegedly helped the complainant evade immigration officials and enter Zimbabwe.
The woman and Sikhala proceeded to his St Mary’s home and stayed there. Sometime in July the same year Sikhala asked the complainant to go out for a drink to discuss business.
While seated in the car, it is alleged, Sikhala put his hand on the woman’s leg and told her he had never slept with a white woman and wondered what it was like and went on to say explicit words.
Sikhala, the court heard, fondled the woman’s breasts while his other hand was inside her skirt.
The woman pushed him away.
The following day the complainant called Muzungu and told him what had transpired the previous night.
She further told him she was now scared of Sikhala.
It is the State’s case that after a week, Sikhala ordered the woman to accompany him to a purported business meeting and along the way, he drove to a city lodge and led the woman into a room where he stripped naked. He instructed the woman to follow suit reminding her that she was an illegal immigrant.
She sat next to Sikhala and told him she did not like what he was doing but Sikhala was undeterred as he undressed her before raping her.
On the second occasion, it is alleged Sikhala raped the woman at the same lodge and gave her US$5 after the act.
It is further alleged that on several occasions especially on Sundays, Sikhala would rape the woman when his two wives and children would have gone to church.
The woman, the court heard, fell pregnant and later miscarried. The State says Sikhala, well knowing that the woman did not have money and a passport, ordered her to leave his house if she was not interested in sleeping with him.
He even told her to report the abuse to the police but warned her that they would lock her up since she did not have a permit and as a prominent political figure, the police would take his side, it is alleged.
On December 20, it is alleged the woman fled Sikhala’s house and sought refugee at a friend’s place. The complainant was later arrested under the Immigration Act and was taken into custody while serving her jail term at prison, she reported the case. During investigations police saw a suitcase with the complainant’s clothes but on March 15 when they went to the house the suitcase was missing. Sikhala’s wives denied that the complainant ever stayed at their house. The stolen clothes and suitcase were valued at R22 000.