TOP banker James Mushore has been caught in the Zanu PF power play as police and the Attorney-General’s Office clashed over the handling of his arr
est on charges of contravening the exchange control regulations.
The Attorney-General’s Office appeared to have given Mushore — former NMBZ deputy MD — immunity from arrest preferring to take him straight to court while the police said this arrangement was faulty. Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele was this week charged over the case while Mushore has been behind bars for over a week.
Mushore is related to retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru who leads a faction in Zanu PF allegedly opposed to President Mugabe’s continued stay in power.
Mushore, who has been refused bail, is facing six counts of contravening exchange control regulations and one of violating the Immigration Act. The banker, who fled the country in 2004, was arrested last week. He had earlier visited the country in September.
When the charges arose Mushore appealed to Mujuru to intervene to save him from being arrested, to no avail.
Mushore fled the country together with three other NMBZ directors, Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto. Police at that time said they wanted to charge the four with foreign currency externalisation.
The Zimbabwe Independent is in possession of a confidential letter which the Attorney-General’s Office wrote to Mushore’s lawyer, Martin Makonese, in April last year, promising that his client would not be remanded in custody once he came back to Zimbabwe. That immunity also covered Zimuto.
Makoni was cleared and subsequently de-specified by the government. “Please find attached copies of the charge sheet and state outline to the above case,” said Joseph Jagada, chief law officer in the AG’s Office in the letter dated April 3, 2006.
The letter was also copied to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the AG’s Office.
“Can you please advise as to when you are likely to be ready for trial so that your clients will not need to be placed on remand but proceed to trial on that date,” read the letter.
“We find this arrangement convenient to all parties concerned in this case.”
Jagada’s letter was in response to a request by Makonese for the state to provide the charge sheet, outline and other relevant details concerning Mushore and Zimuto. Makonese had said he wanted to use the details to prepare for trial.
Makonese made the request in a letter dated March 27 last year. Mushore’s legal team is understood to be arguing that this letter clearly stated that he would not be arrested on his return to Zimbabwe.
Gula-Ndebele is said to have been aware of this arrangement.
The police have however dismissed this procedure.
Spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said police had proceeded to charge Mushore because a warrant of arrest had been issued as far back as 2004 and a docket had been opened on the case.
Asked if he was not aware of the Attorney-General’s promises in the letter, Bvudzijena said if the police knew about the arrangement they would not have charged Mushore.
Meanwhile, the High Court is today expected to hear the state’s appeal against Mushore’s bail granted by a regional court this week.