State withdraws murder charges against Mavangira

THE state has withdrawn murder charges against Jephias Mavangira, husband of High Court judge Susan Mavangira, emanating from a 2002 shooting incident that claimed the life of an illegal minerals buyer.

Mavangira’s lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, yesterday confirmed the w

ithdrawal of the murder charges following the death of Clifford Mukwasi who Mavangira accused of buying the mineral tantalite from panners at his Odzi mine in Manicaland.

It was the state’s case that on April 26 2002 Mavangira “unlawfully and with intent to kill murdered Clifford Mukwasi by shooting him with a pistol in the stomach”.

Mavangira was arrested and later released on bail until the matter was dropped.

“He is not facing any charges at all,” Samkange said. “The charges were dropped because the state was not ready. That’s all I can say, otherwise find out from the prosecution.

The lawyer said that Mavangira was granted $500 bail in 2002 with no conditions and “a year later the charges were dropped”.

Since Monday efforts to get a comment from the acting director of public prosecutions, Joseph Jagada, were fruitless as he said he would only comment after getting full details on the matter.

According to a summary of the case, a scuffle between the deceased and Mavangira ensued after the former was caught illegally buying tantalite from panners at Mavangira’s claim.

Mavangira is said to have first struck Mukwasi with an iron rod and subsequently shot him in the stomach after he refused an order to get into Mavangira’s car. The papers show that the state intended to call six witnesses, four of whom claim to have witnessed the shooting. Some of the witnesses said Mavangira first shot Mukwasi and then fired into the air.

One of those who was going to testify, Sternard Madamombe, was going to say one Julius Mavisa, also a state witness, attempted to stop the scuffle but Mavangira dismissed him by pointing a gun at him before shooting Mukwasi.

“Accused then fired a shot and deceased fell to the ground crying. Accused fired another shot into the air asking everyone to disperse. He went to the deceased and deceased had already died,” reads part of the summary.

In a statement to the police recorded on April 28, Mavangira did not admit to the charge of murder, saying he acted in self-defence when he was surrounded by about 30 people and Mukwasi began acting violently after being found buying the mineral at the claim. He added that Mukwasi held him by the waist and started urging the people to kill him. He said he shot him in the leg. — Staff Writer.