Komichi loses fifth bail attempt

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HARARE – MDC chief elections officer, Morgen Komichi, has lost his fifth bail attempt after a High Court judge ruled that he was facing a serious offence, which might tempt him to abscond if freed.

Komichi was arrested in July, accused of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act.

This was after he presented to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), a ballot paper that was allegedly picked from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the electoral body’s command centre.

His lawyer Alec Muchadehama’s repeated attempts to have him freed on bail has failed to succeed, after the courts dismissed the applications for one reason or the other.

The Harare Magistrates’ Court has denied Komichi bail thrice, while the High Court has dismissed the request twice.

On the latest attempt, High Court judge Felistas Chatukuta said that the trial magistrate Tendai Mahwe had not misdirected himself, and he is better placed to determine Komichi’s bail.

Prosecutor Michael Mugabe has so far led six witnesses in the case. Muchadehama claims Zec failed to handle the July election process, which led to the missing of some of the ballot papers.

He claims witnesses’ evidence was rehearsed as it is identical, adding that their statements provided to the police and evidence given in court were conflicting.

Allegations are that on July 25 at HICC, Komichi approached Tendayi Pamire asking to have an audience with Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau after a ballot envelope was found in a rubbish bin outside the command centre.

State alleges that Komichi accused Zec of destroying ballot papers of members of the uniformed forces who voted for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

According to state papers, the envelope belonged to Constable Mugove Chiginya, a police officer supposed to have voted for the MDC in the Southerton Constituency.

The court heard that Chiginya however, failed to vote during the special voting period.

On July 28, Komichi was arrested by the police at his Bluff Hill home in connection with the retrieved ballot paper.

His trial continues next Tuesday.

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