via Gushungo ‘bomber’ challenges charges – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2016
ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) corporal, Borman Ngwenya, who is facing allegations of trying to bomb President Robert Mugabe’s dairy plant in Mazowe last month, yesterday told the court he was on duty for the State when the alleged offence was committed.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Ngwenya, who is represented by Exactly Mangezi and Musindo Hungwe, was not asked to plead when he appeared before regional magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni, but made four different applications.
Ngwenya queried, among other things, the splitting of charges by the State arising from the same set of facts and statements of his co-accused, in particular, Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa, who are from the military intelligence and facing charges of treason.
Ngwenya is jointly charged with Owen Kuchata, who has since pleaded guilty, convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison.
The State had initially withdrawn charges against Makumbe and Pfupa, before plea, with a view of using them as witnesses.
Hungwe said the splitting of charges based on the same set of facts, strengthened by similar evidence, was a breach of his client’s right to a fair trial. He further argued the State should decide which charge to prefer against his client.
The lawyer also made an application to be supplied with the treason charge State papers, which include the charge sheet, State outline and accused’s warned-and-cautioned statement. He argued the statements had crucial evidence that his client needed in order to craft his defence.
Ngwenya also made an application to have mobile network operators Econet and NetOne to be ordered to release all call records related to his line and proof of the owner of phone number 0716 800 343.
“He had pertinent communications using that line which relate to the charges before this court,” Hungwe argued.
The defence also argued the State should furnish it with proof of ownership of Alpha and Omega Dairy, which they believed is not owned by an individual (Mugabe), but a private company.
Hungwe said the proof of ownership of the company would have a bearing on the charge of sabotage, which falls under the headline of crimes against the State in the statutes, adding if proven the dairy does not belong to the State, then the charges should fall away.
In response, prosecutor Michael Reza argued the State did not split the charges and had no further papers to furnish the accused as the treason charge was still being investigated.
The magistrate is expected to make a determination on Monday next week.