Ka­sukuwere free­dom bid fails

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Tendai Ru­papa Harare Bureau

FORMER Zanu-PF po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar and G40 ca­bal­ist Saviour Ka­sukuwere’s bid for free­dom hit a brick wall yes­ter­day after a Harare magistrate threw out his ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge at the close of the State case, say­ing he had a case to an­swer.

Ka­sukuwere is fac­ing charges of skip­ping the bor­der at the height of the Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy in Novem­ber last year.

He was ar­rested on his re­turn from self im­posed ex­ile and vi­o­lat­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws.

In dis­miss­ing the defence ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge at the close of the State case, Ms Josephine Sande said the former Min­is­ter had a case to an­swer and should be put to his defence.

“The State man­aged to prove a case that the ac­cused per­son used an un­des­ig­nated point of exit and the defence did not dis­pute that as­ser­tion,” said Ms Sande. “As such, the Im­mi­gra­tion Act does not sup­port what the ac­cused per­son did and it shows that he has a case to an­swer. The ap­pli­ca­tion is hereby dis­missed and the mat­ter should go to defence case.”

After the rul­ing, Ka­sukuwere was im­me­di­ately put on the wit­ness stand to give his ev­i­dence-in­chief.

He in­sisted his life was in danger when he left the coun­try and qual­i­fied to have been given a refugee sta­tus in an­other coun­try.

Ka­sukuwere said he was forced to es­cape fol­low­ing an at­tack on his house by un­known as­sailants. He sought refuge in Mozam­bique. The court then vis­ited Ka­sukuwere’s up-mar­ket man­sion at num­ber 4 Deny’s Close Glen Lorne, Harare, for an inspection in-loco.

Ka­sukuwere took the court around his house show­ing them some holes on the pre­cast wall, in­side and out­side the house which he said were as a re­sult of gun­shots.

He took out 113 empty car­tridges of AK-47 ri­fles which he showed to the court, say­ing they were col­lected after the shoot­ing.

After the inspection, the pro­ceed­ings re­sumed at the magistrate’s court, with Ka­sukuwere plead­ing for an acquittal, say­ing his case of “bor­der jump­ing” was ex­cep­tional as his life was in se­vere danger.

“Given the ex­pe­ri­ences of what we went through with my fam­ily, it is one of those oc­ca­sions one would not want to re­mem­ber,” he said. “The Lord played his part on that day and saved us.

“I was left with no op­tion and from what the court saw at my house, the only avail­able op­tion was to leave my coun­try. I did not have pro­tec­tion, so I had to es­cape.”

Dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, Ms Mukumbiri ques­tioned Ka­sukuwere if he knew the as­sailants.

He said he could not lay blame on any­one since he did not see them.

Ms Mukumbiri then asked: “What if they were armed rob­bers who wanted to steal cash from a Min­is­ter in that big man­sion be­cause you do not know your at­tack­ers?”

Ka­sukuwere said they were not rob­bers bas­ing on the num­ber of shots fired.

“What I know is that my life was in danger,” he said. “It was all over the me­dia that there was Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy go­ing on. They were tar­get­ing criminals around the former Pres­i­dent and I was one of the tar­geted Min­is­ters.”

Ms Mukumbiri said since Ka­sukuwere could not iden­tify his at­tack­ers, he should have re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice. “You came back on your own to Zim­babwe,” she said. “Are the at­tack­ers dead now and is your life not in danger now? If your life was re­ally in danger, you would not have come back.”

Ka­sukuwere said Zim­babwe was his coun­try and he had to re­turn home to be with his fam­ily.

He said he did not care if the as­sailants were to pounce on him again.

The State said the fact that Ka­sukuwere did not reg­is­ter with the in­ter­na­tional board as a refugee was proof that his life was not in danger, adding that he vis­ited all those coun­tries as a tourist on site see­ing not a refugee. “What hap­pened at your house did not dis­turb the pub­lic,” said Ms Mukumbiri. “There was no pub­lic dis­or­der. It was your own prob­lem and there­fore you do not qualify to be ex­empted ac­cord­ing to the law.”

In his clos­ing sub­mis­sions, Mr Sa­mukange said if his client had gone through the bor­der, he would have been dead by now.

But pros­e­cu­tion pleaded for a con­vic­tion and pun­ish­ment.

The court will de­liver its ver­dict to­day.

of­fi­cial.

Ac­cord­ing to the bor­der of­fi­cial, Bhobho failed to ex­plain how he had man­aged to nav­i­gate through com­mer­cial mo­bile scan­ners with­out prop­erly declar­ing his con­sign­ment.

He pre­tended to be col­lect­ing more cus­toms doc­u­ments from the ve­hi­cle be­fore flee­ing, leav­ing the keys in the ig­ni­tion.

“Po­lice de­tec­tives later caught up with Bhobho who then im­pli­cated Hokonya and Mat­sekedza. The duo was ar­rested late on Mon­day af­ter­noon and the truck was taken for phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion. It was then dis­cov­ered that the IBR sheets were con­cealed un­der iron coils,” said the source.

Zimra’s com­mis­sioner gen­eral Ms Faith Mazani con­firmed the ar­rests.

Saviour Ka­sukuwere

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