Pressure has eased on embattled businessman Wicknell Chivayo after High Court bail-judge Benjamin Chikowero observed that the state’s case “was weak”.

PICTURES :WICKNELL IN PARLIAMENT

This followed a $5 million fraud charge against the Intratrek Zimbabwe (Intratrek) founder and related to his 100 megawatt Gwanda solar power project with the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).

In granting Chivayo a $2 000 bail, Chikowero was certainly convinced by the accused’s lawyers – advocate Lewis Uriri and Wilson Manase – that the lower court had conceded “there was no misrepresentation because Intratrek had been freely awarded a tender by the State Procurement Board and subsequently signed a contract with ZPC”.

Even, though, the rotund businessman had been denied freedom by magistrate Elisha Singano on the basis that he was a flight risk, the defence team also vigorously pursued or advanced the viewpoint that “the essential elements of fraud and money laundering were non-existent as the source of the money was known”.

Uriri, it is said, argued that the Intratrek deal “was purely a business transaction based on contractual provisions and obligations”, and ZPC “could seek remedy and enforce the matter through civil proceedings”.

Crucially, the presumption of innocence must apply and work in Chivayo’s favour.

And as part of his bail conditions, the 39 year-old businessman was ordered to report twice weekly to the Criminal Investigations Department’s frauds squad and surrender title deeds to his Borrowdale house.

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