Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
FORMER Minister Prisca Mupfumira’s pursuit of freedom once again hit a brick wall after her bail application was dismissed with the presiding magistrate ruling that her ten-year long visa was militating against her bid for freedom.
Deputy Chief magistrate Elijah Makomo said that in considering the bail application, he considered five grounds namely ties of the accused person to the place of trial, access to travel documents, nature of the gravity of the offence, efficacy of bail and the enforceability of bail conditions.
“On the aspect of means of travel, she has two passports which she produced to the court in what her lawyers deemed ‘transparency’, she has a diplomatic passport as well as the ordinary one which has a multiple entry visa to the UK expiring in 2028.
“The conditions for the said visa are that she can enter the UK for 180 consecutive days, she can leave on the 180th day and can then return the next day to restart the 180-day cycle allowing her to live there for the next nine years, there are no reasons as to why she was given such a long term visa and this court can only rule that it’s because of her strong connections with that country and this is a strong factor militating against her bid for freedom.
“In the application, the defence produced two CBZ bank statements in a bid to illustrate that she doesn’t have the kind of money the State is alleging she stole, of the two, one belongs to Beautyview, company which in the State’s papers received money from MetBank, money which was supposed to be deposited in the NSSA account and they also alleged that she isn’t a director of the company hence has no direct control of the money.
“The directors of the company are Elizabeth Bessie Mupfumira, Kuziva Essie Mupfumira and two other family members, however what is striking is that, the principal address of that company is Mupfumira’s house address in Mt Pleasant showing that it could be her alter ego,” said Makomo.
Makomo further added that there was no dispute in the seriousness of the offence and while an accused person is innocent until proven guilty, the court would be naïve to ignore the reasonable suspicion raised by the State.
The deputy chief magistrate also dismissed Mupfumira’s application of refusal of further remand in which she challenged the legality of her arrest by a ZACC official.
“She was arrested by Detective Ndlovu who is currently seconded to the ZACC, the fact that he is now attached there doesn’t strip him of his arresting powers and as such she is not entitled to an immediate arrest as the state managed to raise a reasonable suspicion as her arrest was legal,” said Makomo.
Subsequently, Mupfumira was remanded further in custody to September 20.
Micheal Reza appeared for the State.