Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Marry Mubaiwa, the estranged wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, will have to wait until Tuesday next week before her bail application and bail appeal are heard at the High Court because of the delay in getting a copy of original bail proceedings for most charges at Harare Magistrates’ Court.
This means Mubaiwa, who is being charged with money laundering, externalising foreign currency and attempting to murder VP Chiwenga, will spend another weekend in custody.
Justice Webster Chinamora deferred both the application for bail relating to the attempted murder charge and the appeal against the magistrate court’s ruling which denied her bail for the rest of the charges. Both the prosecution led by Mr Albert Masamha and defence counsel Mr Taona Nyamakura agreed to the postponement.
Mubaiwa’s lawyer yesterday spent much of the morning shuttling between the High Court and the Harare Magistrates’ Courts to ensure the record of proceedings was brought to the High Court in anticipation that the matter could be heard. When the record was finally brought before the court shortly before lunch, Justice Chinamora said he would require time to go through it. The prosecution also wanted sufficient time to peruse the record to prepare a comprehensive response in relation to the appeal matter.
In its response opposing the application for bail, the prosecution outlined the reasons why Mubaiwa should not be admitted to bail. It argues that the sentence for attempted murder was severe in the event of Mubaiwa’s conviction.
The offence of fraud also attracted a jail term not exceeding 35 years while money laundering attracted an imprisonment term of not more than 25 years.
“In the circumstances, the factors which are likely to induce the applicant to abscond must be considered cumulatively,” read the prosecution’s response filed at the High Court on December 24.
The prosecution also fears that Mubaiwa’s financial muscle will induce her to evade trial.
“Releasing the applicant on bail is therefore likely to jeopardise and erode public confidence in the justice system,” said the prosecution.
Mubaiwa was denied bail at the magistrates’ courts on the financial charges. She is now appealing for bail pending trial.
Magistrates cannot grant bail for crimes such as attempted murder and so accused persons must apply to the High Court.
Mubaiwa spent both Christmas and Boxing days in custody. She has described the attempted murder charge as “utterly useless” arguing she was ill and did not have the physical capacity to drag a “whole army general” from a hospital bed as alleged by the prosecution.
Mubaiwa is being accused of unlawfully removing a medical intravenous giving set and the central venous catheter that had been inserted on VP Chiwenga to sustain life.