Mutodi applies for discharge

HARARE - Energy Mutodi — accused of swindling homeseekers of over $500 000, has applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case, arguing the allegations were civil in nature and should never have been brought before a criminal court.

Mutodi is jointly charged with his company National Housing and Development Trust (NHDT) and one of the firm’s trustees, Boniface Chikono.

The musician-cum-politician, who is represented by Charles Chinyama, on Monday told the court that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

He urged the court to drop the charges against him.

“It is submitted that in this particular instance, there is no evidence to prove an essential element of fraud relating to misrepresentation,” Mutodi’s attorney argued.

“Effectively, the State has failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused persons.

“It has failed to prove the essential elements of fraud and consequently the accused are entitled to their discharge at the close of the State’s case.”

Basing on the evidence produced in court, Mutodi said there was no reasonable suspicion that an offence was committed.

He said the allegations raised by the State did not constitute a criminal offence, since they related to failure to meet contractual obligations.

“…it is wholly civil in nature,” his attorney argued.

“Further that, they (complainants) have never approached the Civil Courts with a petition of refund of their money from the first accused person (NHDT). Section 49 (2) of the Constitution states that ‘no person may be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation’ and this is precisely the fate of the present charges against the accused persons which are wholly civil in nature,” he further argued.

The flamboyant musician is alleged to have lured over 16 000 civil servants to join and contribute to the housing trust.

Deduction orders were given to the Salary Services Bureau to debit certain amounts of money on a monthly basis from salaries of civil servants who had joined the trust.

It is alleged that in 2007, Mutodi allegedly changed the account signing arrangement, and made himself the sole signatory.

He allegedly signed for all the transactions.

At least $588 787 was paid in by the complainants, but according to State papers, Mutodi failed to account for the cash.

Comments (3)

arikuda kungwara zvisina basa. There is a lot of dishonesty in this case so it cannot be treated as simple conversion. It's near t o downright theft.

selele - 21 January 2015

Mutodi has indeed a case to answer. But you find cases like this are easily swept under the carpet simply because one has the political backing and support. Surprisingly the Gimboki housing scheme initiated in Mutare in 2007 has not registered any meaningful development and those victims are still yet to benefit. I call upon the powers that be to expeditiously investigate and bring these culprits to book.

Mambo - 22 January 2015

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