By Faith Chapfika
HARARE City council Finance director, Tendai Kwenda’s bid for freedom hangs in the balance after High Court Judge justice, Benjamin Chikowero reserved judgment on the bail application.
Kwenda denied bail by the magistrate’s court, approached the High Court in a bid for freedom, but will have to wait longer after Justice Chikowero pleaded for more time to go through submissions presented before him.
The Harare City boss was arrested together with one of the top managers Stanley Mungofa who was gifted a USD$1,7 million retrenchment package back in 2014.
Kwenda is also facing charges of allocating himself and other managers USD $8 million on allowances, for holidays, and buying personal vehicles.
The state brought a police officer Moreblessing Gandiya who during cross-examination, told the court that Kwenda took money from the traditional levy account, with no authority to do so.
The witness said it was only the prerogative of the minister of local government to make such a call.
“The offense is very serious, he took the money to fulfill personal desires and the possibility of the accused to abscond is very high,” said Gandiya.
The state alleged that the Kwenda took the money without approval of the Minister and that amounted to criminal abuse of office.
The state submitted that it has documentary evidence to prove the criminal charges faced by the accused.
Defense counsel Joe Mambara submitted to the court that his client who was suspended by City of Harare in 2017 without pay and benefits would not abscond.
He said the alleged crime was allegedly committed in 2014 and Kwenda has never fled but instead cooperated surrounding himself to the police.
The state said that the nature and gravity of the case show that there is a greater risk for the applicant to flee the court’s jurisdiction.
They also raised fears Kwenda who was a director of finance might influence junior officers if realized on bail.