Former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and Hurungwe West legislator Temba Mliswa appeared in court yesterday facing charges of theft after several types of rifles were found at his farm.
Mliswa will know if he will be granted bail today after his application could not be concluded yesterday.
Mliswa, who was arrested on Saturday, appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate Mr Ignatius Mugova facing theft charges under Section 113 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutor Mr Herald Matura preferred theft charges against Mliswa involving eight different rifles found at his farm.
The schedule of firearms presented to the court showed that there was a 303 rifle, Patrone .22 rifle, Kal .22 I.F.B rifle, BSA 7.57mm rifle, K217.62mm rifle, .458 Witworth Express rifle, Vanguard 12 Bore shotgun and a 12 Bore double barrel shotgun.
Mr Matura said Mliswa stole the eight firearms from Summerhill Farm in Mhangura belonging to then owner Mr Myles Walter Hall sometime in 2007.
He allegedly stashed the firearms in a trench at his disused Spring Farm fowl run.
Mr Matura opposed bail on the grounds that Mliswa could interfere with witnesses since one of them was his worker at the farm.
He said the police needed to recover five other firearms at Mliswa’s farm, while time was needed to send the recovered firearms to the Ballistics Unit for testing to see if they had not been used to commit a crime.
Mliswa’s lawyer Mr Musindo Hungwe, assisted by Mr Charles Chinyama, rubbished the State’s claims, saying his client was not being charged under the Firearms Act, but was up for theft.
“The case is manifestly weak as the arms in question were recovered,” he said. “So, which other firearms is the State talking about when it is clear that the other firearms are registered in the accused’s name?”
Mr Musindo said there was nothing in the State’s papers to show how the crime was committed, while also dismissing the case for not having a complainant.
“The State is crying more than the bereaved because there is nowhere we see Mr Myles Hall reporting to the police,” he said.
Mr Musindo said with property worth a net value of US$3,5 million, among other valuables, and being a legislator, Mliswa was not a flight risk who should be released on bail under conditions set by the court.
After the defence submissions, the State called investigating officer Detective Sergeant Masimba Mputa to give reasons why Mliswa should not be granted bail. Magistrate Mr Mugova remanded the matter to today on the grounds the courts were closing for the day.