One Diamond Executive Released, Five Others Denied Bail

Five other diamond executives are still being detained after the state invoked section 121 when a magistrate had granted four executives US$2000 bail while Dominic Mubaiwa, Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC) chief executive officer, was denied bail.

The four ZMDC officials who had been granted bail which was denied by the state are John Tichaona Muhonde, Gloria Mawarire, Ashton Ndlovu and Marck Tsomondo who are also facing fraud charges.

The lawyers of the four said they will appeal to the Supreme court against the actions of the state saying the state ‘frivolously’ used section 121 to invoke bail given by the magistrate.

The state can appeal bail approval by the magistrate by invoking section 121 of the Criminal and Procedure Evidence Act, this means the accused granted bail will remain in prison.

Six executives were charged with fraud for making misrepresentation that a South African based company, Benn Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR) was intending to register as a mining company in Zimbabwe but later they registered Core Mining Minerals, Kurotwi’s company.

The state alleges that this led to the country losing investment of more than US$ 2 billion dollars in investment which BSGR wanted to invest in Zimbabwe.

George Chikumbirike, Kurotwi’s lawyer told journalists that the High Court ordered Kurotwi to be released as police held Kurotwi for more than four days without taking him to court.

“The order of the court (High court) is that applicant Lovemore Kurotwi be released from custody forthwith,” Chikumbirike, Kurotwi’s lawyer told provincial magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe on Wednesday.

Chikumbirike on Saturday had obtained a High court order for his client to be released but the police and the prosecution ignored it. However, on Wednesday High court ordered again that Kurotwi be released from custody.

Regional magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe immediately ordered the release of Kurotwi from custody.

“Accused number one (Kurotwi) is released on the instructions of the High court,” he said.

State prosecutor, Chris Mutangadura said the state will continue by way of summons.

“The state will proceed by the way of summons,” Chris Mutangadura said but the state by end of day had made an appeal to the Supreme court to stop Kurotwi’s release.

On Tuesday, the court heard that Kurotwi and the other five accused duped President Robert Mugabe to approve granting of a diamond mining licence saying the company was about invest US 2 billion dollars in the country.

ZMDC chairman, Goodwills Masimirembwa told the court that Mines minister, Obert Mpofu wrote a letter to Mugabe through Lawrence Karwi, an official in the president’s office to seek permission to allow the ZMDC to partner a South African mining company, Benn Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR) to mine in Marange diamond fields.

Masimirembwa appeared in court to provide documents which is the basis of the charges Kurotwi and five others are facing.

Masimirembwa said Mugabe approved the deal as representations by Kurotwi had said BSGR would provide US$ 2 billion dollars to mine in Marange and this led to chief secretary of cabinet to write to Mines minister, Obert Mpofu on behalf on  Mugabe who approved the deal.

Masimirembwa said BSGR is not the one which was later granted a licence but Core Mining Minerals, Kurotwi’s company.

“The office of the presidency through the chief secretary of the cabinet told the Mines ministry to go ahead with the partnership between BSGR and ZMDC on the understanding BSGR would provide an investment of US2 billion dollars,” Masimirembwa told the court.