Tsvangirai's aide suffers setback

HARARE - An application by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s aide Thabani Mpofu to have his case referred to the Supreme Court was dismissed yesterday.

Magistrate Anita Tshuma said there was reasonable suspicion that an offence had been committed, therefore the matter would proceed to trial.

Mpofu’s defence counsel Alec Muchadehama made two applications against the case.

Muchadehama argued that prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi should recuse himself from the matter and that there would be a stay of proceedings pending the lodging and determination for an application for review at the High Court.

In dismissing the applications, Tshuma said there were no prospects of success at the Supreme Court and that it was unlikely that another court might come up with a different decision.

Tshuma also said the application to have Murombedzi recuse himself was unreasonable, adding that his duty was to put the charges to the accused person and the court will make a determination.

Murombedzi, however, opposed the applications for lack of merit and the matter proceeded to trial with Mpofu denying allegations against him.

A police chief superintendent Mukazhi was called in as the first witness, narrating how they found Mpofu’s unlicensed gun stashed under a pile of clothes in a fitted wardrobe.

Mpofu is facing charges of contravening Section 4 (1) of the Firearms Act for allegedly failing to renew a firearm certificate and Section 28 (2) of the Firearms Act for allegedly keeping a firearm in a non-secure place.

It is alleged that during a search of his premises on March 17, police officers confiscated a firearm that was neither registered nor kept in a secure place after it was found hidden under a pile of clothes in the house.

When police inquired to see a certificate for the weapon, Mpofu allegedly failed to produce the required documentation leading to his arrest. - Helen Kadirire

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