By Vimbai Majaha
HARARE Mayor Jacob Mafume faces a real possibility of spending the festive season in prison after he was remanded in custody by magistrate Ngoni Nduna on allegations of obstructing the course of justice.
In delivering judgment Nduna, said Mafume had shown a propensity of trying to interfere with a key witness into a matter where he is accused of corruption and therefore jail was the only suitable place for him.
“His conduct shows that no condition is going to stop accused from interfering witnesses. He is currently on bail with conditions not to interfere with witnesses but he interacted with them. Imprisonment is the only remedy available,” said Nduna in delivering bail.
Mafume was arrested Monday on allegations of trying to bribe Edgar Dzehonye, a key witness in a corruption case where the mayor is the accused.
After being granted $30 000 bail by the High Court, on grounds that he does not interfere with witnesses, Mafume was nabbed for fraternizing with Dzehonye and offering him USD $1500.
Nduna said the state allegations that Mafume met Dzehonye at named places is clearly indicating that he interacted with the witness in the manner alleged.
He added that the current bail conditions ban him from interfering with witnesses, which he did, hence imprisoning him was the only option to restrict Mafume from interfering.
State, led by Constance Ngombengombe, alleges that Mafume violated his bail conditions and offered to pay $1500 to Dzehonye so that he testifies in his favor in court.
Mafume is alleged to have contacted Dzehonye, through a Whatsapp voice call, asking for a meeting.
The accused was caught by the police at Strataven shopping centre whilst they were discussing the matter.
Mafume, denied the allegations through his lawyers Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Tonderai Bhatasara, saying the cell number which police allege he used to call Dzehonye was actually not his but belonged to Getrude Dumba who was in the car at the time time of the arrest.
“The State is not worried about the ownership of the line but its use in the case before the courts,” said Nduna.