HARARE, Zimbabwe’s justice system has come under scrutiny after an aspiring member of parliament from the ruling party, Zanu-PF, was granted bail, despite facing charges of fraud amounting to US$500,000. Moses Ruwona, who was contesting the Makoni West constituency, was granted bail of $300,000 along with his accomplice, Macmillan Chiweshe. The decision was made by Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje.
The decision to grant bail has raised concerns among some Zimbabweans, who allege that the decision was influenced by Ruwona’s Zanu-PF affiliation. Job Sikhala, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has been in prison for months without bail on charges of inciting public violence.
According to the prosecutor, Ruwona and Chiweshe issued fake receipts of payments for the import of WiFi routers and fabric by a client. They allegedly defrauded Waltrop (Pvt) Ltd, a commodity broking company, and Access Finance of US$630,400 and US$256,000, respectively. The two companies reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of Ruwona and Chiweshe two weeks ago.
Ruwona’s defence team had sought to characterise the “free funds” arrangement between the complainants and his Tambwari Holdings as money laundering. However, such transactions are allowed under Statutory Instruments 85 of 2020 and 109 of 1996, which permit individuals and companies to settle obligations using free funds.
Critics argue that the decision to grant bail to Ruwona, despite the serious allegations against him, highlights the systemic bias and lack of independence in Zimbabwe’s justice system. They argue that the decision is a clear indication of the ruling party’s influence in the country’s judiciary.
Meanwhile, Job Sikhala’s legal team has vowed to continue fighting for his release, arguing that he is being held without bail despite being innocent. Sikhala was arrested in July last year and has been in detention ever since on charges of inciting public violence.
Source -MasimbaNews ✍🏿