Lawyer Admire Rubaya representing a CIO agent co-accused with Henrietta Rushwaya in a gold smuggling case has questioned Harare Magistrates Courts magistrate on why the courts are not giving bail to anti corruption accused as if the courts have been directed to do so.
Rubaya made submissions on behalf of Stephen Tserai who is accused of abuse of office after he illegally escorted Rushwaya through the VIP section of the airport with 6kgs of gold.
In his submissions he asserted that the Magistrates’ Court was slowly becoming a passage to superior courts when it comes to bail applications.
He said there was a worrying trend of those appearing at the Special Anti-Corruption Courts being treated differently from those appearing in ordinary courts.
Speaking on behalf of Tserai, the lawyer said the trend casts a misconception that those appearing before special anti-corruption court facing corruption or politically related offences were bound to be denied bail.
He said magistrates sitting in these courts should be mindful that the principles and laws of bail applications have not been muted by the administrative decision to create the special Anti-Corruption Courts.
“The court should be therefore slow to bask in an imagined or real zeal to advance a common euphoria associated with executive programmes of ruthlessly dealing with corruption while forgetting to abide with time honoured legal precepts governing the device of bail in a democratic society.”
“With due respect to these courts the applicant asserts that the real concern is that Magistrates’ Court is slowly being turned into a departure lounge en-route to the superior court because one is sure-footed of being denied bail by the magistrates’ court and once bail is denied he has to pray that he goes to a superior court as fast as possible where there is a belief that justice gets dispensed in a better manner and chances of being released on bail pending trial are higher,” he said.
Rushwaya, Pakistani businessman Ali Mohamad, Central Intelligence Organisation operatives — Stephen Tserai and Raphios Mufandauya — and miner Gift Karanda, will spend another five nights in custody after their bail ruling was moved to Monday.
However, there is a possibility that magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna could make the ruling before the end of day tomorrow if he manages to go through all their submissions today.
Mr Nduna said he will inform the quintet’s lawyers through the State on whether he will be able to make a bail determination before end of day tomorrow.