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Zimbabwe Prosecutor General Granted $1,000 Bail in Alleged Office Abuse Case

  • VOA Staff

Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana

Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana

Prosecutor general Johannes Tomana was on Tuesday hauled before a Harare magistrate for allegedly abusing his office for allegedly releasing two suspects from prison, who are said to have been part of a group that attempted to bomb a farm owned by President Robert Mugabe’s family.

Forty-eight year old Tomana, who was arrested on Monday night, appeared before a Harare magistrate facing charges of allegedly abusing his office or alternatively defeating the course of justice.

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe granted him $1,000 bail, ordered the prosecutor general to report three times at Harare Central Police Station, asked him to surrender and reside at 366 Glen Helen Road, Glen Lorne, Harare, and to return to court on February 16th for routine remand.

State counsel Timothy Makoni told the court that Tomana allegedly criminally abused his office when he instructed an officer in his department, Michael Mugabe, who is President Robert Mugabe's cousin brother, to craft a document instructing the Harare District Public Prosecutor, only identified in court papers as Murombedzi, to cause the withdrawal before plea of charges against two suspects, Solomon Makombe and Silas Pfupa.

The two were remanded in custody following their arrest as part of a group of four, who are said to have plotted to carry out bombing activities at President Mugabe's Alpha and Omega Dairy in Mazowe district.

In opposing bail, Makoni called the investigating officer in the case, Assistant Commissioner Thulani Ncube, based in Bulawayo, who is coordinating police activities in Matabeleland South province, to the witness stand.

Ncube told the court that Tomana had a lot of connection within the southern African region and beyond, adding that he was a flight risk judging from the seriousness of the offense that he allegedly committed.

But under cross-examination from defense attorney, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Assistant Commissioner Ncube conceded that he did not carry out proper investigations before arresting the prosecutor general.

Advocate Mpotu told the magistrate that the police were interfering in Tomana's constitutional prosecutorial functions by questioning his decision to have Makumbe and Pfupa in the initial case.

Meanwhile, the president of the unknown Zimbabwe People’s Front, Owen Kuchata and his co-accused Borman Ngwenya, Solomon Makumbe, and Silas Pfupa also appeared in court today facing fresh charges of treason.

Prosecutor in the matter, Michael Reza told the court that the quartet hatched a plan to unseat President Robert Mugabe's constitutionally elected government before visiting Mapinga in Mashonaland West province where they allegedly identified a place that they would train people militarily.

The state alleged that the accused persons also visited Mr. Mugabe's rural home in Zvimba where they carried out reconnaissance activities.

It is also alleged that they later visited the president's dairy farm in Mazowe where they were arrested while in possession of 16 bombs made of fertilizer, nails and petrol.

The magistrate said his court had no jurisdiction to hear an application for bail in such a matter and advised the accused to approach the High Court for bail. The quartet was ordered to return to court on February 16th for routine remand.

For perspective, Studio 7 reached former attorney general Sobusa Gula Ndebele, who said the arrest of Tomana, would be carefully handled by his office.