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Three former Central Intelligence Organisation senior officers accused of defrauding their employer of thousands of dollars will now stand trial after the Constitutional Court threw out their application for permanent stay of prosecution. Lovemore Mukandi (former deputy director of administration), Nelson Mubvumbi (former chief transport officer) and David Nyabando (former chief administration officer) are facing fraud charges together with a city businessman, Mohamed Meman.

They are being accused of defrauding the CIO of thousands of Zimbabwean dollars in the 1990s in a house construction scandal.

The quartet allegedly committed the offence in 1999 but in 2012 they approached the Constitutional Court arguing that their right to a fair trial within a reasonable period guaranteed under Section 18(2) of the former constitution, had been violated.

They argued that the case had taken long to be set down for hearing hence they sought permanent stay of prosecution.

Justice Anne-Mary Gowora on Wednesday dismissed the application for lack of merit.

“In conclusion, it is my view that the applicants have failed to make out a case for permanent stay of prosecution. The application is accordingly dismissed.

“It is in the interests of justice that they be put on trial for the allegations they face.

“None of them has been able to point to any prejudice that would ensue, with the exception of the delay, which has been accepted to be presumptively prejudicial,” ruled Justice Gowora.

The four were firstly arraigned before the Harare Magistrates’ Court in March 1999 for fraud under Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Alternatively, they were being charged for contravening Section 3 (1) (f) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It is the State’s case that Mukandi was tasked with managing the construction of houses for the CIO.

Mukandi roped in Mubvumbi and Nyabando to assist in the project.

Meman was requested to submit a quotation for the construction of the house without following the Government’s laid-down tender procedure.

African Timber and Builder Suppliers owned by Meman submitted a quotation for the sum of Z$16 106 559, which was viewed to be too high at the time.

Meman later sub-contracted the project to Direct Line Electrical Services and Sales in which Mubvumbi was the beneficial shareholder.

It is alleged that the four misrepresented to the organisation that the costs of the construction had escalated by the sum of Z$16 773 784,32, which they allegedly shared.

They were granted bail on their initial appearing in 1999.

In January 2000, the four were removed from remand.

Mukandi then left for Canada while the other three remained in Zimbabwe until September 2011 when he was deported to Zimbabwe.

The four suspects were all set to face trial on December 2 2011 but the trial did not take off.

It delayed until January 2012 when the suspects applied for the case to the referred to the Constitutional Court.

Source : The Herald