By Daniel Nemukuyu
Marry Mubaiwa, the estranged wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is already facing attempted murder, fraud and currency externalisation charges, may face more charges.
She is being investigated for swindling State aides of their daily allowances while in foreign lands and grabbing vehicles awarded to Miss Zimbabwe pageant winners, the court heard yesterday.
This emerged while she was remanded in custody on charges of attempting to murder VP Chiwenga, illegally externalising US$1 033 000, laundering US$990 000 and fraudulently seeking to upgrade her customary union to a civil marriage without her husband’s consent.
The attempted murder charge arises from when she accompanied her husband who had been airlifted to South Africa in July for urgent medical attention.
Mubaiwa allegedly refused to let him be admitted to hospital for 24 hours until security personnel insisted.
She then visited her husband in hospital, dismissed his security staff, and when alone with him allegedly removed the intravenous giving set and the central venous catheter.
The remand court was told that she was also being investigated on charges of taking away the daily allowances of her aides on foreign trips, of how vehicles won by models in the Miss Zimbabwe pageant were registered in her name, and how she handled funds in Musha Mukadzi Zimbabwe Armed Forces Foundation (MZAFF).
Mubaiwa was not asked to plead to the four charges when she appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere, who remanded her in custody to December 30.
On the attempted murder case, Mr Mberewere advised Mubaiwa to apply for bail at the High Court, which has jurisdiction over such serious offences.
With regards to fraud, externalisation of funds and money laundering charges, Mr Mberewere denied Mubaiwa bail on the basis that she was a flight risk.
Opposing bail in respect of the three charges, prosecutor Mr Michael Reza said Mubaiwa was under investigation on fresh charges over Musha Mukadzi funds, the daily allowances of her security aides and the Miss Zimbabwe cars.
MZAFF is a non-profit organisation running programmes that help families of the armed
forces of Zimbabwe, wives and widows and children of either serving or retired soldiers, as well as war veterans.
Mubaiwa was the patron and chairperson of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust until her resignation in February last year.
Legal expert, Ms Jacqueline Sande said Mubaiwa had to approach the High Court for freedom in respect of the four cases that were heard in court yesterday.
“In respect of the attempted murder case, if the State is opposed to bail, the magistrate cannot entertain the application,” she said.
“The accused person is then supposed to approach the High Court with a bail application.
“In respect of the money laundering, externalisation and fraud, she can file a bail appeal at the High Court. The High Court can overrule the magistrate.”
Another lawyer who spoke under anonymity said the attempted murder case can legally be tried in Zimbabwe, although the offence was allegedly committed in South Africa.
“If the idea to kill started here in Zimbabwe before the complainant was removed from Zimbabwe to South Africa, our courts will have jurisdiction to hear the case,” said the lawyer.
“Again, the law says if the offence has an effect on Zimbabwe, it can be tried by the local courts.”
The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act reads:
“A person may be tried, convicted and punished for a crime, whether in terms of this Code or any other enactment, where the crime or an essential element of the crime was:
(a) committed wholly inside Zimbabwe; or
(b) committed partly outside Zimbabwe, if the conduct that completed the crime took place inside Zimbabwe; or
(c) committed wholly or partly outside Zimbabwe, if the crime:
(i) is a crime against public security in Zimbabwe or against the safety of the State of Zimbabwe;
(ii) is a crime which:
has produced a harmful effect in Zimbabwe; or
was intended to produce a harmful effect in Zimbabwe; or
was committed with the realisation that there was a real risk or possibility that it might produce a harmful effect in Zimbabwe.”
The four charges that were yesterday read out in court, attract lengthy maximum sentences.
If Mubaiwa is convicted of attempted murder, the maximum penalty provided for in the Act is life imprisonment depending on the circumstances.
Fraud attracts a maximum penalty of 35 years in jail, while one can be jailed up to 25 years for money laundering.
Mubaiwa’s father Keni, family members and friends attended the high-profile court case at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday.
Journalists flocked to the courtroom and some court orderlies, who were not conversant with the operation of the media, clashed with journalists barring them from taking down notes during proceedings.