Businessman Wicknell Chivayo was yesterday granted $2 000 bail by the High Court after it was determined that he was not a flight risk contrary to the suggestion by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Chivayo was arrested last week over alleged fraud and money laundering charges.
Through his lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri, who was instructed by Manase and Manase, Chivayo had appealed against the decision by a Harare magistrate, who remanded him in custody to August 17, 2018 after finding out that the businessman had attempted to flee to South Africa.
High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero said Chivayo was presumed innocent until proven guilty and as a result ordered him to deposit $2 000 bail, to report twice a week at CID Commercial Crimes Unit, Harare, not to interfere with State witnesses and to reside at No. 14 Stonechat Lane, Borrowdale, Harare until the finalisation of the matter.
As part of his bail conditions Chivayo was also ordered to surrender title deeds of his property.
According to his lawyers, Chivayo was arrested last Wednesday at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport while on his way to South Africa.
At the remand hearing last Friday, the State claimed it had overwhelming evidence against Chivayo and that risk of conviction was high to the extent that he would be tempted to abscond.
“The court (magistrate) surprisingly found, and contrary to the evidence, that the applicant (Chivayo) was required to surrender himself; that he did not do so; that he was in fact trying to flee; that surrender of the passport was not adequate because of the porous nature of Zimbabwe’s borders; that a return ticket was no guarantee of a return,” Uriri said.
“With respect, these conclusions were not supported by the facts and evidence and were so outrageous in their defiance of logic and common sense that no court acting properly would have reached that conclusion and as to suggest that the learned remand magistrate must have taken leave of his senses.”
Uriri further said allegations made against his client “do not at this stage rebut the constitutional presumption of innocence, found in that part of our Constitution enshrining the right to the protection of the law”.
“The State case is fanciful, porous as has been shown above. The State has failed to reply to these criticisms, preferring to hide behind the lame excuse that these are triable issues to be determined at trial. With respect, the relative strengths of the State and defence cases is a relevant consideration. The State’s refusal to relate thereto must be put to the applicant’s benefit,” Uriri said before the judge ruled in his favour.
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