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Mphoko barred from leaving Zimbabwe

by ZimLive
03 Oct 2019 at 19:55hrs | Views
A court barred former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko from travelling to South Africa on Thursday after he refused to surrender title deeds to his home as surety.

Mphoko applied for the release of his passport held by the state as part of his bail conditions in a pending corruption trial.

His lawyer Zibusiso Ncube told Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya that Mphoko intended to spend five days in South Africa meeting business associates.

"My instructions are to apply for alteration of bail conditions," said Ncube.

Trying to assuage prosecution arguments that he was a flight risk, Mphoko's lawyer said the 79-year-old owns several properties in Zimbabwe and his entire family lives in Bulawayo.

"He is ready to stand trial at any given time. He has never defaulted but has strictly adhered to his bail conditions. The administration of justice will not be tampered with if he is given his passport," the lawyer argued.

Prosecutor George Manokore told Mujaya that they would have consented to the release of his passport had Mphoko agreed to swap his passport for his title deeds.

"We had compromised as the state that he gives us surety in terms of title deeds to his property namely number 19 Douglasdale Road, Douglasdale, in Bulawayo during the five days he intends to stay in South Africa," the prosecutor said.

"We had said we would hand over the passport and he gets his title deeds back when he returns the passport after the five days, but that did not find favour with the accused person. That shows there is risk. It is our belief that failure by the accused person to hand over title deeds points to the fact that he does want to attach self to the risk that will arise if he hands over the title deeds," said Manokore.

Bizarrely, Mphoko through his lawyer offered that the court could bond US$300,000 which he said he was owed by government in pension benefits, but that did not impress the magistrate.

"No evidence has been placed before he court in support of the application… The application is therefore dismissed," Mujaya said.

Mphoko faces trial for criminal abuse of office for allegedly forcing police to release Davison Norupiri and Moses Juma, two former executives of the Zimbabwe National Road Administration who had been arrested on corruption charges in 2016.

Mphoko, who denies the charges, said he was working on orders from President Robert Mugabe.

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Source - ZimLive