Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume’s bail application relating to his alleged obstruction of justice by reportedly attempting to bribe a witness was on Thursday thrown out by Harare magistrate, Ngoni Nduna.
The mayor will spend the Christmas festive season in prison and is expected back in court on 18 January 2021,
Mafume was early this week arrested at Strathaven shopping centre in Harare when he met with Edgar Dzehonye, the witness in an earlier case in which the mayor is being accused of illegally allocating residential stands to his sister and a secretary at his law firm.
Police say the mayor attempted to pay Dzehonye US$1, 500 for the witness to testify in Mafume’s favour.
Mafume had applied for bail in the new case through his lawyers, Thabani Mpofu and Tonderai Bhatasara.
“It is clear that (the) condition of not interfering with witnesses was not going to be neutralised by any condition and that calls for the accused to be put in prison. Therefore, bail is refused,” ruled Nduna.
Nduna said Mafume was not supposed to meet Dzehonye at the shops.
In the initial case, the High Court granted Mafume ZW$30, 000 bail and ordered him not to interfere with witnesses.
“Accused person is a lawyer. Under such circumstances where he is facing criminal charges, why didn’t he call his intended client to his office and discuss business issues? While there is no law that prohibits meeting in such places, going to his office was the logical thing to do,” said Nduna.
Mafume, though, is denying the charge that he tried to interfere with the witness.
Through his lawyers, he told the court that when the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) searched him, they found only US$65 yet the State is charging that he intended to pay a US1, 500 bribe.
Mafume never called Dzehonye on Whatsapp as alleged, the lawyers said, adding that the number alleged to have been used for the call did not belong to the mayor.