THE government wants to keep the plane that flew suspected mercenaries into the country and the US$200 000 the men had on them when they were arrested in Harare in Ma
rch. It is also after their boots.
Chief Law Officer Stephen Musona last week made a formal application to Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe to enable the state to forfeit the plane and the money. The plane is valued at between US$3 million and US$5 million.
While outlining the role played by Simon Mann in recruiting the men and his alleged role in the coup plot in Equatorial Guinea, Musona said that the accused should face a stiff penalty for his role.
“From the evidence we have it is clear that he had a role to play in the coup in Equatorial Guinea,” Musona said. “We also apply that there be forfeiture of the plane, money and the boots.”Before Musona could finish his submissions, Jonathan Samkange, representing Mann and another 66 men, objected saying there was no indication that Mann was going to Malabo.
“There is no basis whatsoever for what my learned friend is saying. In fact even from the submissions that were made by your (state) witness there is no indication that he was going to Equatorial Guinea.”
Samkange told the court that it was not procedural for the state to take his clients’ goods. He also disagreed with the state on the value of the plane.
The defence was of the opinion that the plane was valued at US$3 million whilst the state said it was worth US$5 million.
“We cannot get the value of the plane, but I think it is valued at around US$3 million, but our friends are of the opinion that it is valued at US$5million. I think on the actual value we should get it from Reserve Bank Governor (Gideon) Gono,” he said.
“On the plane alone we will end up looking at $3 trillion depending on the auction rate being used. It is also completely outrageous to take everything away from him.”
Mann was last week convicted of contravening the Firearms Act by conspiring to purchase dangerous weapons without an end-user certificate.
He also pleaded guilty to contravening the Public Order and Security Act, for attempting to possess dangerous weapons. Mann will be sentenced next Friday.