Home Crime & Courts US$5 million fraud accused Wadyajena, Cottco bosses freed

US$5 million fraud accused Wadyajena, Cottco bosses freed

by reporter263

HARARE – Zanu PF legislator for Gokwe-Nembudziya Justice Mayor Wadyajena and his four co-accused jointly charged with US$5 million fraud and money laundering have each been granted ZW$200 000 by a Harare magistrate.

This follows a successful bail application filed by the group through their lawyers Thursday.

Prosecutors had opposed granting of their freedom insisting there was overwhelming evidence against the suspects which could induce them to skip bail or interfere with witnesses.

Wadyajena, 41, is jointly charged with Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) bosses Pius Manamike, 54, Maxmore Njanji, 47, as well as Fortunate Maloi, 34, and Chiedza Danha, 39.

In granting their application for bail, Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje said the State failed to convince the court that the suspects could abscond if granted bail.

Mambanje said, if anything, the state’s fears could still be secured by his imposition of strict reporting conditions against the accused.

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Wadyajena and company were ordered to report once every Friday at the police, surrender title deeds to a movable property, surrender their passports and not to interfere with witnesses.

The lawmaker, through his lawyer Oliver Marwa, had argued that there was no way he would interfere with witnesses who are not his employees.

Wadyajena and his co-accused were arrested Tuesday by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) charged with the siphoning of Cottco funds to buy some 25 trucks for individual aggrandisement under the guise of securing some material for the state entity.

In his submissions while arguing for bail granting, Marwa accused ZACC of pursuing an “evil” did on his client.

“There cannot be anything more evil than what ZACC is doing against the fourth accused person,” said Marwa.

He said the court was now being dragged into political games by ZACC which he said was now in the habit of targeting innocent people who are later released.

“This court is now being dragged into some political games and the public is crying that ZACC is arresting and releasing people; it has turned into a catch and release game,” Marwa said.

Wadyajena and his colleagues are alleged to have created a local company identical to a Mauritius company which they allegedly used to get orders for Carbon Bale Ties, which were purportedly going to be used by Cottco.

Court papers state that Cottco never received the bales as per their agreement with the intended company and the accused persons allegedly diverted the money into their own use.

The court further heard some of the loot was used by the suspects to import 25 trucks from a USA company called Giant Equipment in 2019.

The freeing of the Zanu PF lawmaker and his colleagues after just two nights in state custody would not be well received by opposition CCC supporters whose MPs, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole have been languishing in remand prison for two months.

The two are charged with inciting the violence that rocked Nyatsime area in June this year in the aftermath of party activist Moreblessing Ali’s shock murder allegedly by a Zanu PF loyalist.

CCC accuses the state of selective application of the law.-zimlive

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