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Harare mayor Mafume faces bribery charges

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HARARE mayor Jacob Mafume, was back in the dock yesterday accused of trying to bribe a key witness in the stands scandal case he had been granted bail by the High Court last week.

Prosecutors told a Harare Magistrate’s Court that Mafume was picked up on Monday by investigators while trying to bribe suspended Harare City Council housing officer Edgar Dzehonye with US$1 000.

Dzehonye is the main witness in the case in which the Harare mayor is accused of influencing council officials to grant residential stands to his sister and workmate when they were not on the housing waiting list.

In the fresh charge brought yesterday, Mafume is now being accused of trying to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, alternatively contempt of court, after he was allegedly arrested while sitting in Dzehonye’s vehicle at Strathaven Shopping Centre.

Mafume’s lawyers Thabani Mpofu and Tonderai Bhatasara have described the allegations as “amateurish as they are ridiculous” saying the arrest was only meant to embarrass their client as he was arrested with only US$65 in his possession and not the alleged US$1 000.

Regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna will deliver the bail application ruling today after the State opposed his admission to pre-trial freedom.

It is the State’s case that on December 12, Mafume called Dzehonye through WhatsApp.

It is alleged that the following day, Mafume made another call and asked to meet him at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre.

On December 14, it is alleged that Mafume made another call requesting to meet Dzehonye at Strathaven and they met and sat in his vehicle.

It is alleged that he begged Dzehonye to give a “favourable” testimony in court in the stands case and allegedly offered him US$1 000 and that the balance would be handed later in the day.

He was, however, arrested by cops after a tip off.

The State led by Constance Ngombengombe and Kudzai Chigwedere opposed Mafume’s admission to bail saying there was a likelihood that he would interfere with witnesses and abscond.

They called the investigating officer Joseph Sirihwini, who emphasised that there is likelihood that the Harare mayor will flee as he now has two criminal cases.

He said there is also likelihood that he will interfere with witnesses as he has shown that by violating bail conditions set by the High Court.

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