Court Watch

Council taken to court

BULAWAYO – Megalithic Marketing Private Limited has filed a High Court application seeking a review of the city council tender procedures after it was disqualified from bidding for a contract to manage the parking system in the central business district.

Charles Musema, the marketing director for Megalithic, filed the application on behalf of the company through his lawyer, Sindiso Mazibisa, on Monday.

The company last year won the tender ahead of companies such as Easi Park Private Limited and Greywolf Trading.

However, the tender was reversed by council’s tender board, which claimed that the process was flawed and the project was to be retendered. There was speculation that council preferred Easi Park, which already runs the Harare parking system.

Mazibisa argued in the High Court application dated June 4 that the tender board misdirected itself by rejecting Megalithic’s successful bid.

Mazibisa also said the claims by the local authority that his clients were disqualified on grounds of undeclared conflict of interest were false, and urged the court to set aside the ruling.

“The applicant prays its tender be recognised, granted as applied for and be made to sign all the necessary contracts and agreements,” he said.

Council advertised the tenders in November 2010 and contracts were supposed to run for five years. Bulawayo Mayor ThabaMoyo yesterday said he had not yet received any papers and could not comment on the matter. – Talent Bhachi

Sex offender jailed

HARARE – A man has been jailed for 40 years for sexually abusing minors during his tenure as farm labourer at Fort Rixon Farm in Insiza.

Maxwell Mbiba pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape and one of attempted rape but was convicted by former Bulawayo regional magistrate, Fadzai Mtombeni. Eight years of his sentence were suspended on condition of good behavior. When passing his sentence, Mthombeni said the fact that Mbibahad abused four children was an indication that he was a habitual rapist.

“You abused the trust that each of the children had in you as a relative. As a result you should not be allowed to live in any civilized society. This is a case that would fit a life sentence,” said Mthombeni. – Staff reporter

MP in court over jingle

GWERU – MDC-T Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya’s trial has kicked off at Gweru magistrates’ court.

Chibaya is jointly charged with Livingstone Chiminya, an MDC-T youth, of inciting violence through a radio jingle.The trial has been postponed six times since October 2011.

It is the state’s case that in October last year Chibaya and Chiminya incited party youths to attack Zanu (PF) supporters who were listening to a Zanu (PF) jingle- Nyatsoteerera at Tandanani Bar in Guinea Fowl just outside Gweru.

However, the pair’s lawyer Reginald Chidawanyika questioned the inconsistencies in the evidence of key state witness, Violet Kadete. The witness told the court that Chibaya and his colleagues went on a rampage, damaging property on the day in question but such evidence was not in her statement recorded by police.

Lawyer Chidawanyika said the omission was evidence there was something fishy in the evidence of the witness. The lawyer also questioned why some of the people who said they had been severely assaulted on that day have not come forward with such evidence. – Brenna Matendere

Three jailed for killing uncle

MASVINGO – Three members of the same family were last week slapped with 15 years imprisonment when High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe convicted them of the murder of their uncle.

The trio accused their uncle of possessing charms that were allegedly hindering them from securing employment. Sitting at Masvingo High Court Circuit, Justice Hungwe spared Mugwandu Biza (28), Onward Nhekeya (25) and Pinias Jeremiah (30) from the hangman’s noose following their conviction for murdering 79-year-old Gungwa Chipere three years ago. The murder is said to have occurred at Chibaya village in Chivi on November 17.

Justice Hungwe heard that on the day in question the trio force-marched Chipere out of his house and ordered him to lie on his stomach while they assaulted him with logs.

Chipere’s wife, Shuvai, is said to have watched the attack from a distance, but when she screamed for help no one came to his rescue. – Talent Bhachi

Twist to intra-party violence case

MARONDERA – The MDC-T intra-party violence court case has taken a dramatic new twist following revelations by the key state witness, Gift “Gwekwerere” Phiri, that they were instructed by Party Provincial Chairperson, Pinnel Denga, to wrongfully implicate the 14 accused.

Phiri told the Magistrates Court here on Monday that, after the intra-party fight, party supporters sympathetic to Denga convened a caucus meeting chaired by Denga as Mashonaland East Provincial Chairperson at the party offices.

“Denga instructed us to make false police reports claiming that we had sustained severe injuries as a result of attacks by Mayor Farai Nyandoro and 13 of his close allies. I did not witness Nyandoro and the other 13 accused assaulting anyone.”

Defense lawyer, Mugove Mazanhi, indicated to another complainant, Boniface Tagwireyi, that he was not assaulted by the accused but by angry villagers.

“I put it to you that you were assaulted by villagers from Marondera East who felt shortchanged by you and your wife, who happens to be Councilor Ward 4 Rural,” Mazanhi challenged Tagwireyi.

The last state witness is expected to give his side of the story today. – Staff Reporter

Deadline for banner court case

MARONDERA – The Magistrates Court here has resolved to conclude a court case in which four MDC-T activists stand accused of burning a Zanu (PF) banner bearing President Robert Mugabe’s portrait.

A court magistrate said since the case had dragged on for too long and the complainants were no longer attending the court case, it would be logical to conclude the case by July 30.

“The case has been running in the courts for too long,” said the magistrate last week.

According to the state, MDC-T Ward Councilor, Caleb Marange, and party youths, Charles Ngwena (District Youth Chairperson), Shown Chinai and Omega Mutsaru allegedly set on fire to a Zanu (PF) banner bearing Mugabe’s portrait at Dombotombo Shopping Centre earlier this year. The accused deny the charges.

The four were brought to court after spending several days in police custody. They have been appearing in court in connection with the charges ever since. – Staff Reporter

Car thief caught

GWERU – Police here arrested a car thief who is responsible for a spate of vehicle thefts around the city. He has been linked to 18 occasions of theft. Stolen property worth $ 3 000 has been recovered so far.

Eye witnesses said Vincent Joni of Mkoba 18 was rounded up by police last week after he was caught trying to steal vehicle parts from a Toyota Hiace.

“The owner of the vehicle spotted him and we gave a chase and rounded him up,” said an eyewitness. A close police source said preliminary investigations have led to the recovery of stolen property.

“The recovered items include six pioneer speakers, four pioneer radios, one Panasonic radio, and another Kenwoood radio,” said the source.

It is understood the property was recovered at the accused’s residence in Gweru while some was traced to Mbare, Harare where it was being sold. – Brenna Matendere

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