Komichi ruling on Thursday

HARARE - A Harare magistrate will on Thursday hand down a ruling in a case in which MDC chief elections officer Morgen Komichi stands accused of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act.

The State, led by Michael Mugabe, will furnish the court with closing submissions on Tuesday, followed by defence submissions on Wednesday before magistrate Tendai Mahwe rules on the matter on Thursday.

The defence closed its case after Komichi’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama said they were no longer calling witness but relied on evidence led by the former in court.

“I have since taken instructions from accused person and the only point we would have wanted the witness for was to confirm the existence of Michael Phiri,” said Muchadehama.

“So far from what’s on record, accused will be able to argue that indeed Phiri exists. To that end therefore accused has no more witnesses to call and is closing his case.”

Komichi was arrested in July after he presented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), a ballot paper envelope he received from Phiri that had allegedly been picked from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the electoral body’s command centre.

Komichi claims that Zec hatched a plan to implicate him in a crime he did not commit during a meeting that was convened to discuss the ballot paper issue.

His lawyer claims Zec failed to handle the July election process, resulting in some ballot papers going missing.

Allegations are that on July 25 at HICC, Komichi approached Tendayi Pamire seeking an audience with Zec chairperson Rita Makarau after a ballot envelope was found in a rubbish bin outside the command centre.

The State alleges that Komichi accused Zec of destroying ballot papers of members of the uniformed forces who voted for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

According to State papers, the envelope belonged to Constable Mugove Chiginya, a police officer supposed to have voted for the MDC in the Southerton Constituency.

The court heard Chiginya, however, failed to vote during the special voting period.

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