HIGH Court judge Justice Tendayi Uchena on Wednesday denied bail to six men facing treason charges for plotting a coup against President Robert Mugabe aft
er the state gave new evidence that could lead to conviction of the accused.
The six alleged coup plotters, Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure and Shingirai Mutemachani, have been in custody since May and this was the second time they were applying for bail.
“Knowledge by the applicants that the state has gathered such evidence would in my view induce the applicants to want to abscond to avoid a trial at which such evidence may lead to possible convictions,” said the High Court judge.
Uchena said the investigating officer, Simon Mundondwa’s evidence indicated that more arrests could be made.
“Mundondwa’s evidence is in fact to the effect that other arrests may still be made,” he said.
According to Uchena’s judgement, the investigating officer has gathered credible evidence.
“He (Mundondwa) had recorded statements from witnesses who were approached by the applicant and requested to take part in the coup plot. He mentioned in particular an Air Force officer whose evidence he recorded in Gweru who was approached and asked to fly a plane for a particular task during the coup plot. He also mentioned that some of the participants/witnesses were asked to remain on duty to facilitate an easy take over of barracks,” Uchena said ruled.
The judge said Mundondwa’s new evidence includes statements that were recorded from military and government officials who were approached to take part in the coup.
“It was argued by Mr (Charles) Warara for the applicants that no coup could have succeeded without the involvement of the military or government officials. That is a valid observation but only if the military and government officials were not approached. The investigating officer’s evidence is that he has recorded statements from such officers who were approached and asked to participate in the coup plot,” he said.
He said the applicants would abscond with the assistance of Matapo who runs a travel agency and is well connected outside the country.
He said Matapo had demonstrated his ability to evade systems as he once travelled to the Unite Kingdom without using a passport.