Home » Judicial » Troubled Gomwe Attempts Suicide

Zanu-PF Harare provincial youth chairman Godwin Gomwe attempted to shoot himself when he heard that police were after him in connection with a case in which he and other party officials allegedly extorted over $46 000 from eight housing co-operatives in Glen View using the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe’s name.

After he was disarmed by an army officer who swept to his rescue, Gomwe later reportedly attempted to end his life by taking rat poison, the court heard yesterday during his bail application.

Gomwe (34) is jointly charged with six other party officials — Muchineripi Mupindu, alias Ginya (36), Fidelis Ndaradza, alias Brigadier (32), Haruwandi Munyawiri, alias Baya (46), Hamphrey Madenyika (29), Josephine Hadziindi (59) and Norah Toronga (38).

Harare provincial magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwewe rolled over the matter to today for bail ruling.

In opposing bail, the prosecutor Mr Michael Reza, with the assistance of Miss Sharon Mashavira, said if convicted, the gang faced up to 15 years each in prison, a sentence which could induce them to abscond.

“These suspects are facing a serious offence and if convicted they face up to 15 years each behind bars. I have heard of people who fled a prison term of only two years, talk of 15 years, these suspects will fly, your worship if freed on bail. Your worship, the court must take note that accused 1 (Gomwe) is suicidal, for he once tried to shoot himself in Makuti before he was disarmed by an army officer and that pistol is in the hands of the police. He was also found with rat poison.

“Those two items are held by the police as exhibits. I believe it is the duty of this honourable court to protect people even from themselves. This can only be achieved by keeping them behind bars.”

Mr Reza said by issuing receipts to the co-operatives inscribed “Amai Dr Grace Mugabe housing consortium”, the gang wanted the complainants to think they were collecting the money on behalf of the First Lady, thereby bringing her name into disrepute.

“In this country there is one Amai Dr Grace Mugabe. Did she authorise the accused persons to collect money from the complainants, the answer is no. Was she consulted when her name was being abused by the accused, and still the answer is no. The old adage, ‘There is no honour among thieves’ is quite evident here,” he said.

Mr Reza added that the gang did not have respect for the courts therefore they should not be granted bail. He made reference to a High Court order granted in favour of the complainants, but was defied by the suspects.

He said if the gang failed to comply with a High Court order, they would also not abide by the bail conditions given by a mere magistrate.

However, Gomwe, through his lawyer, Mr John Ndomene, argued he was a proper candidate for bail.

He denied being arrested after a trap was set, saying that he in fact handed himself over to the police. Gomwe also refuted State allegations that he attempted to commit suicide. Mr Ndomene said the State had failed to prove that it was Gomwe and his alleged accomplices who created the receipts inscribed “Amai Dr Grace Mugabe”.

“They are not the ones who created those receipts and the State has failed to prove that. These receipts do not establish a crime against the suspects, especially my client. The State is so malicious, he never at any given time tried to commit suicide. Why was he not arrested for that? This is a blatant lie,” he said.

Mr Ndomene submitted that the State’s case was weak, adding that if Gomwe wanted to abscond, he would have ignored several calls made by the police.

“Your worship, this is a very simple case which does not even warrant stringent bail conditions. In fact, the accused persons should be granted $50 bail each. The former Prime Minister, Mr Tsvangirai, once faced treason charges but he was granted bail, so what is so serious about extortion charges?”

The other accused persons, through their lawyer, Mr Rungano Mahuni, argued that the allegations against them were a political smearing campaign.

“Your worship, the charge is motivated by politics. These allegations were made by people who want to remove them from their positions,” he said.

Mr Mahuni said all his clients were not likely to abscond trial adding that they were eager to stand trial and prove their innocence.

Source : The Herald