By Staff Reporter
HIGH Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo has ordered the stay of proceedings in the case in which River Valley Properties chief executive Smelly Dube faces US$9 million fraud charges.
Dube (51) also faces an alternative charge of conspiracy to criminal abuse of duty by a public officer and is out of custody on $100 000 bail.
She filed an application for review of proceedings at the High Court under case number HC119/21.
In a ruling dated June 2, Justice Moyo said: “Pending the determination of the applicant’s review application filed under cover HC118/21, the proceedings at Gweru Magistrate’s Court, i.e CRB GWP 343/21 be stayed. At the resolution of the review, application filed by applicant under case no HC118/21 this order lapses.”
Dube had filed the application through her lawyer Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa Legal Practitioners.
She cited regional magistrate Taurai Manwere and the National Prosecuting Authority.
Dube submitted in her application that the court proceedings were irregular because she had been unlawfully arrested, hence her appearance before Manwere’s court was unlawful.
Also, she argued that she was not taken to the police station to have formal charges laid against her.
“The applicant’s matter was placed before the first respondent (Manwere) without her having been formally charged and afforded an opportunity to respond to the charge. This was so because the applicant’s physical, mental and medical well-being did not permit that Dube be uplifted to the police station to meaningfully attend to the charges, and was in no state to understand or participate in the process thereof,” she submitted.
Dube was alleged to have connived with former Midlands governor Jason Machaya, who was jailed over land deals last September, Matilda Manhambo, a former housing officer in the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry and Shepherd Marweyi, the former district administrator, to be allocated 2 169 stands, where beneficiaries were said to have been prejudiced of more than US$9,4 million.
It is alleged that the allocated land was developed without engineering designs.
In September last year, Machaya and provincial planning officer Chaisayanyerwa Chibururu were each sentenced to four years’ in jail for unlawfully allocating 17 799 stands to land developers in Gokwe town, who in turn gave them 1 000 stands worth US$900 000.