Former Cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who was arrested on Monday on four counts of abuse of office, was yesterday granted $3 000 bail by Harare regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya and ordered to surrender title deeds to a Nyanga property among other stringent conditions.
The magistrate also ordered Kasukuwere to report twice a day to the police, submit his passport, continue residing at his given address and not to interfere with State witnesses, particularly Mr George Manyere of Brainworks Private Limited.
In granting Kasukuwere bail, Mr Mujaya said according to the new Constitution, bail is a right and where the State feels that the court is supposed to deny accused person that right, it is an onerous task for the State to provide compelling reasons in the interest of justice.
He concurred with the defence’s submission that seriousness of an offence on its own was not sufficient to deny an accused person bail, adding that even in murder cases, suspects are granted bail.
Prosecutors Mr Michael Reza and Mr Zivanai Macharaga from the President’s Special Anti-corruption Unit opposed bail.
They submitted that if he was to be granted bail, Kasukuwere should pay $100 000 and surrender title deeds to a property worth $5 million.
Mr Mujaya reduced the bail quantum to $3 000.
Acting Prosecutor General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi made a brief appearance and addressed the court on his office’s priority to effectively prosecute all corruption cases before handing over proceedings to Mr Reza and Mr Macharaga.
Mr Hodzi said: “Your Worship you might be wondering why I am appearing before you. I was paying a courtesy call as the acting Prosecutor General to familiarise myself with the duties of my officers and see how they operate,” he said.
“From time to time I will be making myself available as cases of corruption and criminal abuse of office have public interest and it is incumbent upon me as the PG to appear before you. My soldiers (Reza and Macharaga) are well equipped as I have given them instructions.”
The State had opposed bail on the basis that there was overwhelming evidence against Kasukuwere and he was a flight risk.
They called the investigating officer in the Brainworks charge, Superintendent Josphat Mutipforo from Police Anti-Corruption Unit, who concurred with the prosecution that the State’s case was strong.
Supt Mutipforo told the court that Kasukuwere was on the run and police had to seek a warrant of apprehension.
Kasukuwere’s lawyer Mr Jonathan Samukange argued that his client was a suitable candidate for bail.
He dismissed the State’s submission that Kasukuwere was on the run saying when he was informed of the charges he quickly returned and turned himself in.
Kasukuwere is facing four charges of abuse of office emanating from the time he was Minister for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment and that of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
In the first count Kasukuwere is accused of flouting tender procedures when he awarded Brainworks Private Limited-owned by Mr George Manyere- a contract to do brokering services and financial advisory to the Government on indigenisation.
According to State papers the appointment of Brainworks was inconsistent and contrary with the nature of his duties as a minister.
On the three other counts during his tenure as local government minister, Kasukuwere is accused of allocating different pieces of state land to Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma without following due process.