By Shingirai Vambe.
Harare City Mayor, Jacob Mfume was today granted thirty thousand bail by High Court Judge, Justice Benjamin Chikowero after spending two week behind bars.
Mafume was arrested on allegation of criminal abuse of his office by the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) for parceling our residential stands to his sister and secretary in Harare.
Represented by Harrison Nkomo, Mafume was denied bail by Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna who ruled that the accused person may use his influence to interfere with witnesses,intimidate them and destroy the evidence at his office.
Nkomo submitted before the High Court today that the evidence provided by the investigating officer and submission made following evidence made by state witnesses does not corroborate hence the reason for appeal and seek the ruling by Nduna to be set aside.
Nkomo also highlited before Justice Chikowero that the Court misdirected itself and failed to consider a lot of factors on the law of bail application.
“The accused person is a ceremonial Mayor and only visit Harare City offices when chairing council meetings.
“The court did not look on the events that followed after the accused person was contacted by the police, Mafume was in Bulawayo and when he was contacted he cut short his business to attend to the call, that alone prove the accused person doesn’t have any intention to abscond any court session as alluded for by the court” Nkomo said.
The state represented by Toendepi Mafuwa opposed the bail application citing the manner at which the crime was committed and the office he occupied and now being the Mayor he would destory the evidence at his office since the police said investigations are still going on.
Nkomo told the court that his client has the right to bail consideering the time at which the police had when he was in prison and his client may not go to his office for further 14 days if they so wish to uproot whatever they feel may help them in this case.
Furthermore all council documents are found or kept by the chamber secretary who happens to be a legal practitioner, added Nkomo
“My client has nothing to hide, and or to destroy. he pleaded not guilty to the allegation and staying behind bars would affect the rule of law according to section 164 of the criminal codification act 9:23”
Justice Chikowero granted Mafume bail with condition that he stay at his given address, surrender his passport and not to interfere with witnesses two of them who have already left council, Admore Nhekairo and Edgar Nhewonye.