Land developer acquitted in bribery case

Source: Land developer acquitted in bribery case | Newsday (News)

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

HIGH Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has dismissed bribery charges levelled against property developer Felix Munyaradzi.

Munyaradzi, who is chief executive officer of Delatfin Civil Engineering, had been accused of bribing Thomas Mabgwe of the Zimbabwe Republic Police with residential stands to avoid prosecution over alleged offences involving land.

But Justice Chitapi ruled that Munyaradzi did not commit any crime as alleged.

“It is ordered that the decision of the magistrate in September 2020 under CRB 108/20 be and is hereby reviewed and set aside,” Chitapi ruled. “The placement of the applicant on remand be and is hereby revoked on the basis that the facts as presented by the State do not constitute a criminal act.”

The State had alleged that Mabgwe, who is attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters, was allocated two residential stands in Sandton Park, Mt Hampden, Harare, in September 2015 to cover up Munyaradzi’s alleged illegal land deals.

Mabgwe was later arrested on the same charges, but the High Court, in granting him bail also stated that the offence was not clear.

Justice Pisirayi Kwenda said: “In my view, the allegations of bribery are far-fetched. The facts as presented to me are weak and the trial court ought to have taken that into account.

“I am satisfied that the trial court misdirected itself in failing to appreciate that the allegations did not disclose the offence. I am not told that the appellant was investigating the Delatfin matter nor was the CID. I do not see how in the circumstances there would be any need to bribe him.”

The State had alleged that Mabgwe was given a bribe by Munyaradzi in his capacity as Delatfin CEO to protect the businessman from pending criminal charges.

Chitapi, however, said it was the duty of the State to prove that Munyaradzi committed the offence and in this regard, the State failed.

“The applicant has no onus to prove anything,” Chitapi ruled.

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