MDC-T official remains locked up after bail appeal dismissed

The jailed MDC-T Deputy National Chairperson, Morgan Komichi, will remain locked up after an appeal against a court decision to deny him bail was dismissed on Thursday.

Komichi, who was also party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s polling officer, was arrested on Sunday 28th July 2013 and charged with ‘committing fraud’. He was accused of allegedly tampering with an envelope containing ballot papers ahead of the elections.

The MDC-T however said that before his arrest, Komichi responded to an anonymous tip-off that some ballots had been retrieved from a dustbin located at the Harare International Conference Centre, which was being used as a Special Vote processing centre.

Komichi then passed the ballots on to ZEC, which admitted that the papers were authentic. But ZEC then complained to the police about Komichi’s version of events, leading to the arrest.

He was originally denied bail the day before the national election got under way, with Harare Magistrate Anita Tshuma arguing that police needed time to complete their investigations.

His lawyers then appealed this decision at the High Court. But on Thursday, Justice Hlekani Mwayera dismissed this appeal, stating that there was no basis to overturn the Magistrate’s decision.

Lawyer Tarisai Mutangi told SW Radio Africa that for now Komichi will remain locked up, saying there are a number of possible options the legal team can follow, including returning to the Magistrates Court.

“We may approach the Magistrates Court to prove that the circumstances that led to him being denied bail have changed. The law allows for the same court to rule again on the matter if this is the case,” Mutangi explained.

The state meanwhile has not yet indicated that it is ready to proceed with a full trial.

The MDC-T said Thursday that it “condemns the continued unnecessary incarceration of Senator Komichi, instead of the police and the State carrying out proper investigations and arresting those responsible for dumping the ballot papers.” – SW Radio Africa

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