Gold war­lords granted bail

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

PROM­I­NENT Esigo­dini busi­ness­man, Baron Dube and his ri­val, Mthulisi Ng­wenya were yes­ter­day each granted bail pend­ing trial for al­legedly in­cit­ing ri­val groups of il­le­gal gold pan­ners to en­gage in a street fight for the con­trol of gold­fields.

Dube (41) who was once con­victed of threat­en­ing to com­mit mur­der and Ng­wenya (33) both from Ha­bane Town­ship were re­manded out of cus­tody to Au­gust 11 by Esigo­dini res­i­dent mag­is­trate Mr Lungile Ncube. They are fac­ing charges of in­cite­ment to com­mit pub­lic vi­o­lence.

Dube who was rep­re­sented by Ms Noz­abelo Ndlovu of Kos­sam Ncube and Part­ners was granted bail of $800. Ng­wenya is out on $300 bail and his lawyer is Mr Zibu­siso Ncube of Ncube and Part­ners.

They were or­dered to re­port twice a week at Esigo­dini Po­lice Sta­tion and not to in­ter­fere with state wit­nesses as part of bail con­di­tions.

The state was op­posed to the bail ap­pli­ca­tion, ar­gu­ing that there was no guar­an­tee that if granted bail, the two men would not ab­scond.

The in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, Sergeant On­well Han­gaiwa, in his ev­i­dence, said Dube is an ex-con­vict with a propen­sity to com­mit­ting sim­i­lar crimes if re­leased on bail.

“Ac­cused is fac­ing a se­ri­ous crime and if granted bail he is likely to ab­scond,” he said.

The mag­is­trate said there was no ev­i­dence that the two ac­cused per­sons would ab­scond.

“There are no com­pelling rea­sons by the state sug­gest­ing that the ac­cused per­sons would ab­scond if granted bail. The court be­lieves that if strin­gent con­di­tions are put in place they will cure the state’s fears,” said Mr Ncube.

He ruled that both ac­cused per­sons were proper can­di­dates for bail.

“In try­ing to strike a bal­ance be­tween the in­ter­ests of the ac­cused per­sons and jus­tice, the court is of the view that the ap­pli­cants are proper can­di­dates for bail,” said the mag­is­trate.

Dube and Ng­wenya are ac­cused of in­cit­ing a group of youths from their camps to en­gage in pub­lic vi­o­lence.

Dube leads a group from Fi­l­abusi while Ng­wenya is the ring leader of the Nkayi group.

On July 28, the two ri­val camps fought for about seven hours in Ha­bane Town­ship over the con­trol of gold fields in Esigo­dini.

Po­lice fired shots into the air to stop the sav­age fight­ing in which the gangs at­tacked each other with stones, iron bars and ma­chetes.

The street bat­tle caused shops and busi­nesses to close.

Prose­cut­ing, Mr Jefta Nyikadz­i­nashe said on July 28, Dube en­gaged the ser­vices of Eric Ny­oni and sev­eral others who were not iden­ti­fied to at­tack a group of il­le­gal gold pan­ners from Nkayi.

The court heard that Dube trans­ported the group from Fi­l­abusi to Esigo­dini Busi­ness Cen­tre where the clashes took place.

Ng­wenya com­mu­ni­cated with Nkosiyazi Moyo and Sicelo Mkhwananzi and in­cited them to at­tack Dube’s group.

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