Marry Chiwenga released on $50k bail
© HIGH Court judge Pisirayi Kwenda has freed Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry, who is facing fraud, attempted murder, externalisation and money laundering charges, on $50 000 bail.
Marry is accused of externalising funds to China and South Africa, where she reportedly bought two houses and three top-of-the-range cars.
The former model also stands accused of attempting to murder her husband, while he was in South Africa, where he was seeking medical treatment. She is also in the dock for allegedly seeking to wed the retired general without his consent and knowledge.
Marry approached the High Court after she had been denied bail by deputy chief magistrate Chrispen Mberewere three weeks ago.
But yesterday, Kwenda ruled that Marry was a suitable candidate for bail, saying every accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“The decision of the court … is substituted with the following: the accused be and is hereby admitted to bail pending trial, the accused shall deposit the sum of $50 000 with the clerk of court at Harare Magistrates’ Courts, the accused shall reside at 614 Nick Price Drive, Borrowdale Brooke, Harare, the clerk of court shall accept as surety, the property known as Lot 1 of Lot 343 A Highlands Estate measuring 3 642 square meters held by KM Auctions (Private) Limited under Deed of Transfer 2244/2006 accompanied by the necessary resolution of the directors (and shareholders) of KM Auctions (Private) Limited, Keni Mubaiwa and Helga Junior Mubaiwa,” Kwenda ruled.
The judge further directed Marry to surrender her diplomatic passport at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, report to Borrowdale Police Station once every two weeks and not to interfere with State witnesses as part of her bail conditions.
Kwenda said it was inappropriate for the State to argue for pre-trial incarceration as a matter of policy to deal with the problem of corruption.
“The court …erred when it accepted the argument. The prosecution is encouraged to change tact.
“I urge the State to avoid arresting before investigating a matter in so far as that is possible without the risk that the suspect may interfere with such investigation,” Kwenda said.
The High Court judge said the magistrate erred again when he concluded that many prominent people have taken flight to avoid trial after being freed on bail.
On the allegation that Marry sought to upgrade her customary marriage to the retired general to a Chapter 5:11 marriage, Kwenda adjudged that there was nothing wrong with it unless an ulterior motive was demonstrated.
Prosecutors had opposed the bail application, arguing Marry was a person of means and would abscond if granted bail.
They added that the State had a strong case against Marry which could lead to her imprisonment for over 35 years if convicted.
In her bail application, Marry described the State’s claims and its evidence against her regarding the attempted murder charge as “utterly useless.”