By Professor Matodzi
Harare, February 03, 2016 – President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Michael Mugabe on Monday got a taste of how it felt to be in the hands of his uncle’s police force when he was arrested together with his boss, Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana for allegedly defeating the course of justice.
Michael is Chief Law Officer with the National Prosecuting Authority and son to President Mugabe’s late brother.
The two were quizzed over their roles in a case in which Tomana allegedly authorised the withdrawal of charges against treason suspects, Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa.
Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, both soldiers, were up for allegedly plotting to bomb the First Family’s Gushungo Farm in Mashonaland Central’s Mazowe area.
However, Michael was luckier than his boss when he was released from police custody in the early hours of Tuesday without being charged.
On Tuesday, Tomana appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts to answer charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
His juniors in the national prosecuting authority alleged he contravened Section 174 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
State prosecutors Timothy Makoni and Gwinyai Shumba also alleged that Tomana on Friday 29 January contravened Section 184 (1) (a) (e) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 by defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
This is after he allegedly colluded with Michael to instruct Jonathan Murombedzi, the Harare Area Public Prosecutor to withdraw charges against Makumbe and Pfupa.
“The accused person ordered his subordinates to originate a memorandum that was acted upon leading to the withdrawal before plea of criminal charges hence the release of the two accused persons (Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa) from remand prison,” reads part of the charges against Tomana.
Prosecutors claimed that Tomana’s actions were against the decision endorsed by Florence Ziyambi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, her Deputy Nelson Mutsonziwa, chief law officers, who include Chris Mutangadura and Michael, who had given the green light for the placement of Makumbe, Pfupa and Owen Kuchata, an opposition political party leader and Orman Ngwenya.
Makumbe and others were arrested last month and charged with possession of weaponry for sabotage in contravention of Section 27 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 and Section 9 (1) (a) (b) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act Chapter 9:24 (Terrorist Financing Offence).
However, Tomana, who was represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was instructed by Alex Mambosasa and Tazorora Musarurwa, was released on $1 000 bail by Harare Magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe.
He was ordered to report three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and to surrender his passport and not to interfere with state witnesses.
Tomana’s high profile court hearing on Tuesday was well attended by his sympathisers, among them football fan Eddie Mboma Nyatanga.
Top lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Alec Muchadehama and Charles Kwaramba were also among a handful of their colleagues in the legal profession who witnessed the hearing.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights executive director Irene Petras also followed proceedings.
Tomana will return to court on 16 February.