Magistrate Accuses Abducted MDC Trio For The Collapse Of The Zim Dollar, Refuses To Grant Them Bail.
15 June 2020
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Own Correspondent

The three MDC activists in court.

Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande has denied bail to three MDC Alliance youth activists accused of staging their abduction saying that their claims of torture and sexual assault by suspected state security agents harmed the country’s economy which recently saw the Zim Dollar fall tremendously to the US Dollar.

The alleged abduction and torture of the three women had caused “negative publicity against the country”, and hurt the economy, the magistrate said, accepting prosecution arguments.

Makwande after listening to arguments by the prosecution and their lawyers, said bail was a right according to the constitution and can only be denied where there are compelling reasons.

“These include the likelihood for the accused to commit a similar offence or to abscond among other reasons,” Makwande said.

“In essence, it is alleged by the state that three staged a demonstration against the recalliñg of their colleagues from parliament and also abuse of Covid-19 funds.

“The state argued that the three committed a very serious offence and are likely to flee if granted bail. The police also said they are yet to establish the accused’s real addresses since they gave different addresses, adding further that investigations were to be completed in 14 days.

“The accused vehemently denied the allegations and feel they are good candidates for bail, and that the investigating officer’s evidence was too comical for a court to accept that. They asserted that the charges are nonsensical.

“The court is of the view that the state’s opposition of bail in respect of propensity to commit a similar offence is acceptable. It is highly likely that if convicted, they will be given a stiff custodial sentence which may induce them to skip bail.”

The magistrate also based his ruling on evidence to be provided by the state which including CCTV footage which allegedly shows the three women at Belgravia Shopping Centre at 4.54PM hours after the time they were abducted.

“If proven, the video evidence that the three were free citizens at a time they were alleging to have been abducted may force them to skip bail. Court will place confidence in the officers of the court. I will believe the submissions of the state if they have evidence they adduced,” Makwande said.

“The state says they faked their abduction, and that cannot be ignored. In that regard, bail is denied.”

Alec Muchadehama, the three women’s lawyer, gave notice to challenge placement of his clients on remand.