More days in custody for Mutsvangwa Neville Mutsvangwa

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter

HARARE businessman Neville Mutsvangwa yesterday suffered another setback after the High Court extended by five days, his stay in custody awaiting bail ruling on charges of illegal foreign currency dealings and one of possession of an unlicenced Starlink router.

Justice Esther Muremba was expected to deliver her ruling in Mutsvangwa’s appeal for bail pending trial, but deferred the matter to Monday next week.

Mutsvangwa was denied bail by Harare magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi who remanded him and his two suspected runners on the foreign currency charges in custody to May 30.

He appealed against this denial of bail and, through his legal counsel Ms Josphine Sande, took the matter to the High Court.

Ms Sande sought bail for her client arguing that the prosecution has no case against Mutsvangwa and his co-suspects Elias Majachani and Simbarashe Tichingana.

The remand court, said the lawyer, misdirected himself in denying bail to Mutsvangwa and his co-accused, arguing that the prosecution hinged its evidence on Visa cards which were seized from Mutsvangwa’s Mount Pleasant home.

Ms Sande said possession of Visa cards is not a crime, neither is it evidence that someone is involved in illegal dealing with cash or money laundering.

In the magistrates’ court, Mr Mangosi denied the trio bail on the grounds that they could be tempted to abscond.

He also ruled that police found overwhelming evidence that the company, Mumba Money Transfer, owned by Mutsvangwa, was an unregistered entity dealing in foreign currency.

Police also had difficulties in arresting him.

Mutsvangwa first denied police entry to his Mt Pleasant house, and when police cut his electric fence and climbed over his gate, they had to search for him and eventually found him hiding between a precast wall and a pile of sacks containing waste.

Mr Mangosi, in his ruling against bail, said that Mutsvangwa was a high-profile figure with connections and could sustain a livelihood outside the country hence was a flight risk.

The other team of detectives visited the Mumba Money Transfer Office in the city centre where Majachani was serving clients. Police recovered US$3 890 cash, some computers, a register of the transactions and over 20 Visa cards.

The State opposed bail on the grounds that the three were facing serious charges, especially money laundering.

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