Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Deputy minister of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Douglas Karoro who spent the weekend behind bars was yesterday granted $50000 bail.
Karoro together was with his alleged accomplices Jeremy Phiri and Dean Dzimunya were also ordered not to interfere with witnesses directly or otherwise, to surrender their travel documents and to report to the police once every week.
In delivering his ruling, regional magistrate Stanford Mambanje ruled that there are no compelling reasons warranting the trios continued detention pending trial.
“The first applicant is the deputy minister who appeared on initial remand on Saturday and was remanded in custody to today for bail application who was arrested at a road block and was cooperative.
“Second accused made an attempt to flee but was subdued and arrested and the third accused was called and was arrested at the police station.
“The state has opposed the granting of bail on two grounds which are the likelihood of absconment and that there’s a likelihood of interference with witnesses.
“The release of an accused on bail is aimed at enabling him to attend trial while coming from home, placing them in custody is to ensure their attendance to trial if there’s a compelling reason that they would abscond.
“Bail is always in the discretion of the court and in formulating the opinion on whether to grant bail or not, there’s a presumption of innocence that lies on accused persons until proven otherwise.
“Fear of interference the state alleges that Karoro is likely to interfere with witnesses but he doesn’t work with the said witnesses directly and there has been no attempt to interfere.
“The applicants are likely to stand trial because the states case isn’t much stronger as alleged, court should be alive to the presumption of innocence.
“The deputy minister has strong ties to the jurisdiction because he’s a top government official and has no reason to flee,” he said.
The trio was remanded to appear in court on June 14.
Lancelot Mutsokoti appeared for the state while Admire Rubaya represented the trio.