The State has identified two mansions and luxury cars owned in South Africa by the estranged wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Marry Mubaiwa. This emerged in the High Court yesterday during Mubaiwa’s bail appeal in the matter in which she is facing foreign currency externalisation, money laundering and fraud charges. The bail appeal was brought before Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, who also heard Mubaiwa’s bail application on attempted murder charges.
Challenging Harare magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere’s decision to deny her bail, Mubaiwa’s lawyer Sylvester Hashiti said the State would have no problems extraditing her from South Africa in the event that she crossed the border, since her properties were already identified.
He argued that Mubaiwa was not a flight risk and could be recognised by anyone in the event that she decided to leave the court’s jurisdiction. “The court a quo failed to deal with compelling reasons as to why appellant was not a proper candidate for bail,” said Mr Hashiti. “She is not a flight risk as she is not a stranger to anyone. “She cannot pass through any point without detection. She is a mother to four minor children with strong ties to this jurisdiction which are documented. The properties in South Africa have already been identified and on that basis she can be extradited and brought back home.”
Mubaiwa, in her bail appeal, argued that the State had no reason to deny her liberty, as the offences it alleged were committed through her companies, where she was only a director. She said the State was supposed to charge the companies and not her. Mubaiwa denied ever fraudulently attempting to register her marriage with VP Chiwenga, saying she could not have prejudiced him when they were already in a marriage.
She said that there was no way she could interfere with witnesses as some of them occupied high offices, including the Judge President of the High Court.
The State led by Mrs Sharon Fero and Mr Lovett Masuka, in its response, argued that Mubaiwa was facing serious charges that could earn her at least 25 years in jail or being ordered to repay twice the amount she allegedly prejudiced the State.
“The appellant was a shareholder and director of the companies and she was clearly the person who directed movements of funds,” said Mrs Fero.
“It will be the choice of the State to jointly charge her with the companies, but at this time in point it is clear that allegations warrant a remand. The State also managed to establish a reconcilable charge of money laundering and the offences seem to be well calculated and well planned.”
Justice Kwenda reserved judgment in the bail appeal. In her bail application on attempted murder charges, Mubaiwa said the allegations against her lacked credibility and circumstances surrounding the charges were doubtful. She said since the State alleged that the offence was committed when no one was present, there was no circumstantial evidence.
Mubaiwa said with the type of wounds and swelling she had, it would be difficult for her to abscond. Mr Hashiti then handed the court pictures showing her wounds. The accused’s father Mr Keni Mubaiwa volunteered to deposit title deeds to his property at No.102 Seke Road as part of his daughter’s security and bail conditions.
Justice Kwenda reserved judgment in the bail application, meaning she will spend more time in remand prison