Chief Court Reporter
The prosecution bid to reverse the decision by a Harare magistrate to grant gold dealer Ali Mohammed bail has failed, although the High Court agreed errors had been made, but the businessman now has to include the title deeds of a Hatfield house, already part of the temporary surety for a trip, as part of the bail until trial.
Mohammed is already out of custody on $100 000 bail coupled with stiff conditions and last week was granted permission to travel to South Africa for two weeks to attend an investors conference with the magistrates court accepting his offer of a $2 million top up of the bail and the Hatfield title deeds.
He is facing charges of allegedly attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai using co-accused Henrietta Rushwaya, who also finally made $100 000 bail recently.
Appealing against the granting of bail to Mohammed, the Prosecutor-General’s Office said several errors were committed by the remand court and it wanted Mohammed locked up pending trial.
Justice Pisirayi Kwenda agreed there had been misdirection by the lower court but still found bail was appropriate. Although Mohammed was a foreigner, that would not necessarily induce him to evade trial as stiffer conditions could be imposed to ensure that he remained in the country until his trial is concluded.
“The misdirections leave the court at large. I am of the view that the fears of abscondment can be adequately allayed by the imposition of conditions which will be combined to make it unlikely for the respondent to leave the jurisdiction of this court,” he said.
To this end, the court tightened the bail conditions by ordering Mohammed to provide as surety, the deeds to a Hatfield property of 4 267 square metres not later than close of business yesterday.
Last week on Friday Mohammed successfully applied to have his passport back to enable him travel to South Africa on a business trip for two weeks.
He appeared before regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Friday seeking the release of his passport and scrapping of reporting conditions for the required time to allow him to travel and he volunteered to deposit a further $2 million on top of his bail and title deeds to the Hatfield property as surety for his return, the same property now being used as surety right up to his trial.
But the court did not agree with the two months period he asked for and granted him 14 days.
Prosecutor Mrs Netsai Mushayabasa had opposed the application for the passport, arguing that the court saw it necessary that he surrendered his passport so that he could stand trial. Mr Admire Rubaya of Rubaya and Chatambudza law firm represented Mohammed.