Suspended Gweru mayor councillor Hamutendi Kombayi, his deputy Clr Artwel Matyorauta and town clerk Daniel Matawu who were last week arrested for alleged theft, fraud and criminal abuse of office after funding MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s visit and stay in Gweru to the tune of $8 733, have been granted bail.
The trio was not asked to plead when it appeared before Gweru provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekhile Msipa facing criminal abuse of office charges.
Mrs Msipa remanded the trio to April 15 on $200 bail each.
In passing the ruling, Mrs Msipa said the State failed to provide compelling reasons why they were opposing bail.
“Considering reasons on factors like absconding trial and interfering with witnesses the State failed to provide convincing reasons therefore your bail application has been granted,” she said.
Mrs Msipa ordered the trio to submit their travelling documents to the clerk of court, not to interfere with State witnesses and report to the Gweru Central Police Station every Friday until the matter is finalised.
It is the State’s case that during the period extending from July 31, 2013 to June 30 last year the accused persons acting in common purpose hatched a plan and connived to steal and abuse ratepayers’ funds by making unlawful payments for non-council business to meet expenses for their private activities and functions.
“During that period the accused persons made a payment of $1 875 to Antelope Park and Resort and Fairmile Motel using ratepayers’ funds to meet expenses for Morgan Tsvangirai and his entourage’s private function,” she said.
The court heard that the trio made an unauthorised payment of $6 858 to Fairmile and Village Lodge using ratepayers’ funds without council authority on non-council business to meet the expenses related to their personal and private business bringing the total to $8 733.