Magistrate recuses self in gold case

HARARE - A Harare magistrate has recused herself from handling a case involving four men who attempted to smuggle   14, 635 kilogrammes of gold worth over $600 000 through the Beitbridge Border Post.

The men are Yaya Materiya, 30, Dennis Tonny Kwendamawira, 60, Timothy Makarimayi, 49 and Fungai Mashava, 28.

It is alleged that after being apprehended by police, Materiya offered $93 230 bribe to evade arrest.

The matter came back to court on Tuesday for trial but Harare regional magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni recused herself from handling the case and did not give reasons for the decision.

Prosecutor Allan Goche had to take the matter before magistrate Themba Kuwanda, who deferred it to September 17 for trial.

It is alleged the men were arrested by police detectives from the Border Control and Minerals Unit after a tip-off.

Police officers intercepted the vehicle along the Harare-Masvingo Road on its way to South Africa, leading to Makarimayi and Mashava’s arrest. The two allegedly implicated Materiya and Kwendamawira.

According to state papers, the police conducted a search in the vehicle and recovered 39 smelted buttons of gold.

The state alleges Materiya loaded the gold into the car and gave the vehicle to Kwendamawira, who in turn gave it to Makarimayi and Mashava.

The suspects are out of custody on $1 000 bail each.

They were ordered to surrender title deeds of Materiya’s Avondale house, report twice a week at CID Minerals Unit and to surrender their passports to the Clerk of Court as part of their bail conditions.

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