HARARE – Chitungwiza magistrate Lazarus Murendo has advised the State to put its house in order in the case in which Phillip Mutoti, the town’s mayor and a local councillor are jointly accused of criminal abuse of office by illegally issuing a stand in Zengeza.
After both parties agreed that the matter be rolled over to December 18, Murendo further ruled that if the trial does not commence on that day, the court will make a ruling on the matter based on available evidence.
Marufu Mandevere, appearing for the accused, had opposed the application by the State for continuance of the matter on the principle that “the police should not arrest citizens for the purposes of carrying out an investigation’.
Prosecutor Tendai Mukariri had earlier on submitted an application for another postponement of the matter to January 6 to allow the police to complete investigations.
This had not found favour with the defence who argued that they had earlier agreed on a longer remand period to allow the State to carry out its investigations, “this is a good case where the police just rushed to arrest the accused persons without carrying out investigations.”
“The outstanding issue was to record a statement from the town clerk and that only requires a policeman to take pen and paper to record.”
Mandevere further alleged that by arresting the two without proper investigations, the police were malicious and it was a sign that they wanted to embarrass the mayor and Ward 12 councillor Darlington Musonza.