THE Supreme Court has thrown out Marry Mubaiwa’s application to get her passport back to travel to South Africa for medical treatment, saying she is likely to abscond trial.
Mubaiwa is facing multiple charges of attempting to kill her ex-husband, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, assaulting her maid, money laundering and fraud involving more than US$1 million.
She had approached the Supreme Court seeking relaxation of her bail conditions through contesting an earlier High Court decision turning down her bid to get her passport.
Mubaiwa wanted her passport back and suspension of a bail condition compelling her to report at Borrowdale Police Station every fortnight. While the highest court of appeal accepted evidence that Mubaiwa was unwell and required specialist treatment, it ruled that a mere undertaking that she would stand trial, without alternative forms of security, failed to convince the bench.
She is suffering from an ailment known as lymphoedema, which causes swelling of hands and legs.
Justice Tendai Uchena said evidence produced in court shows Mubaiwa had strong connections in South Africa and it was risky to free her without other forms of security to convince the court that she will not abscond.
“The appeal is dismissed with no order as to costs. An applicant for variation of bail conditions in circumstances where variation removes the safeguards intended to ensure that he or she will stand trial, must offer other forms of security in substitution of those to be suspended if variation is to be granted.
“If the bail conditions are temporarily altered without substitution, they will severely weaken the possibility of her standing trial. The appellant did not offer any security in substitution of the conditions to be varied,” said Justice Uchena.
The appeal court considered reports that Mubaiwa bought two houses and other properties in South Africa from proceeds of the crimes committed, hence chances of her absconding could not be ruled out.
“In this case, the appellant is alleged to have bought two houses in South Africa. She is alleged to have bought three motor vehicles, two of which were registered in her name in South Africa. She is alleged to be the sole shareholder of her South African company. She is alleged to have furnished one of the houses she bought in South Africa. Charges preferred against her are serious. The strength of the charges preferred against her offers a strong incentive for her to abscond,” said Justice Uchena.
Mubaiwa is accused of sending her driver Carrington Kazingizi and Terrence Mutandwa to China with US$114 000 without making a declaration to authorities.
She is alleged to have sent US$230 769 to South Africa and purchased a Range Rover and Ford Ranger. She is accused of externalising US$36 923,08 to purchase furniture for her South African house at Number 1309 Kingstone Heath Close, Waterkloof Golf Estate, Pretoria. It is alleged that an additional US$201 846 was sent to South Africa disguised as funds to purchase event tents and chairs for a local business but the money was later used to buy a Range Rover Autobiography, which was registered in Mubaiwa’s name.
Mubaiwa is accused of transferring US$307 545 from CBZ Bank into a South African bank account, which was used to buy a house in Pretoria registered in the name of Mubaiwa’s company called LaChelle Travel & Tours.