Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Fidelity Printers and Refiners company secretary Terrence Tererayi Machawira, accused of swindling the country’s sole gold buyer of more than $120 000 and instructing the firm’s Information Technology (IT) manager to delete evidence linking him to the offence, was yesterday granted $500 bail.
Machawira will however, remain in custody for the next seven days after the State invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
The section allows the State to hold suspects for a week while it considers appealing.
Machawira will now join his workmates, chief operating officer and finance director Godknows Hofisi (41), senior finance manager Tinashe Mumbengegwi (35) and Ronald Madhara (47), an accountant, who are facing fraud charges involving close to $800 000. The three, who were last week granted $2 000 bail each coupled with stringent conditions, are still in custody after prosecutor, Mr Michael Reza, invoked section 121.
As part of his bail conditions, Machawira was ordered to report once a week at CID Serious Frauds, to surrender his passport and not to interfere with witnesses until the matter is finalised. In his bail application, Machawira, through his lawyer, admitted to signing the documents in his capacity as the company secretary, instructing Stanbic Bank to transfer money from a Fidelity Printers and Refiners account into a Swisspack Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd account with the same bank.
He claimed that he had been used by his co-accused persons who were the principal perpetrators.
Magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe, in his ruling, said people who were charged for the same offence must be treated the same. “His co-accused persons were granted bail. So on that basis he is a suitable candidate for bail. In the case of the accused, he admitted signing the documents in question in his capacity as the company secretary on the instruction of his colleagues. If this is found to be true, then he has a strong defence,” he said.
Mr Reza had opposed bail arguing that Machawira was not a proper candidate for bail since he had already interfered with investigations by instructing the IT manager to delete information linking him to the offence.
Hofisi, Mumbengegwi and Madhara are jointly charged with their colleague, James Munemo, who owns a shelf company, Swisspack Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd.
According to State papers, Machawira used the same fraudulent method used by Hofisi, Mumbengegwi and Madhara to defraud their employer.