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By Martin Muleya

Fugitive Hatirarami Momberume (26) of Johanne Marange Apostolic Sect, who had been in hiding since the death of alleged Memory Machaya later handed himself to the police and has appeared at Mutare Magistrate Court today facing murder and having sexual intercourse with a minor, charges.

Momberume who was represented by Brian Majamanda of Khuphe and Chijara Law Associates was remanded in custody by Regional Magistrate Lucy-Anne Mungwari, although the State did not oppose bail.

It was the State’s case represented by Tirivanhu Mutyasira and Jonathan Chingwinyiso, that on Count one having sexual intercourse with a minor as defined in Section 70 (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 in that, on an unknown date to the prosecutor but in the year 2020 the accused fell in love with Anna Machaya, knowingly that she was born on the 5th of July 2006 and was daughter to Edmore Machaya and Shy Mabika, who at the material time was under the age of 16years.

“On a date unknown but in April 2021, Anna Machaya eloped to the accused and they started staying together purportedly as husband and wife. During the period extending 2020 to 15 July 2021 the accused had sexual intercourse with Anna Machaya leading to Anna falling pregnant and gave birth to a baby on 15 July 2021 at Johanne Marange Apostolic Church shrine, the Court heard.

On second count murder as defined in Section 47 (1) (b) as read with Section 53 (2), the accused unlawfully caused the death of Anna Machaya by impregnating her and failing to take her to receive health care services on 15 July 2021 during her labour.

The State contented that the accused had the legal duty as the alleged husband to ensure that such a young child required special health facilities to deliver realising that there was a real risk or possibility that his conduct by omission might cause the death of Anna Machaya during or after the delivery of the baby.

It is alleged that accused took Anna to Johanne Marange traditional midwives when she delivered and she died after some labour complications. The accused hid the news of her death as he proceeded to bury her without notifying the authorities of her death.

In order to cover up the offence, the accused teamed up with his relatives purporting that the person who had died was Memory Machaya born on 02 January 1999. The accused’s in-laws even had the audacity to tender an identity card bearing the name of Memory Machaya NR 58-319899 T 23 as that of the deceased. Investigations later revealed that the person who was married to the accused was Anna and not Memory as purported.
The said Memory is alive and staying at Plot 9 village 2, Rockbar Resettlement,Mhondoro and is married to Lameck Makonye.

In an interview after the court hearing, his lawyer Brian Majamanda said his client had been remanded in custody and will appear again in Court on the 3rd of September 2021.

“As a lawyer I will try by all means to ensure that my client is given a fair trial according to the dictates of the law,” said Majamanda.