With prosecutor Tapiwa Kusena arrested yesterday for him to explain how he consented to granting robber Musa Taj Abdul bail, it has emerged how another notorious armed robber was released on bail under unclear circumstances this month.
Douglas Mutenda was recently released on $5 000 bail on four counts of armed robbery, including the much publicised one at Mashwede Towers where US$100 000 was stolen.
He is part of the gang that includes Musafare Mupamhanga, Godfrey Mupanhanga, Spicer Takawira, Carrington Marasha, Benjamin Chitunhu and Conwell Kasambarare, who were also freed on bail under questionable circumstances.
They were arrested on a spate of armed robberies and their cases are still pending before the courts. Through his legal representatives at TK Takaindisa Law Chambers, Mutenda applied for bail at the High Court on October 20 this year.
The State led by Mr Douglas Chesa opposed the application, saying the prosecution had a very strong case against him.
Mr Chesa, in his opposition papers, told the court that Mutenda led to recoveries of some of the stolen properties and there was a CCTV footage that showed him at the crime scene.
He said Mutenda’s accomplices implicated him and there were phone calls linking him to the offence, which left the prosecution with a very strong case against him.
High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi dismissed Mutenda’s bail application on grounds that he was likely to abscond and that he was facing a serious offence.
Barely a month after his bail application was dismissed at the High Court, Mutenda engaged a different lawyer and approached the same court, but went before a different judge.
Mutenda engaged lawyer Mrs Concilia Maheya, who made a fresh bail application under changed circumstances on December 8.
In the application, Mutenda argued that his co-accused, Musafare Mupanhanga, Spicer Takawira, Benjamin Chitunhu and Conwell Kasambarare, had been granted bail. He also argued that he had no pending cases as the State had alleged.
Mr Chesa responded to the fresh bail application on the same day consenting.
“The present application is based on changed circumstances, which the respondent (State) is of the view that they tilt the scales in favour of the applicant,” he said. “In the initial application, neither the then legal representative nor the investigating officer who gave oral evidence in court told the court that there were other accused persons who are facing the same charges, already on remand and are out on bail.
“The applicant (Mutenda) is linked to the commission of the offence through implication by his co-accused. He was arrested at his home and no recoveries were made from him. Further, no formal identification parade was conducted to allow the respective victims to finger the applicants as having been part of the gang that committed the offence. The only probable link being the CCTV coverage and call history of his cell phone.”
Mr Chesa said in his consent papers that issues of the CCTV and call history were to be tested and determined during trial.
He said there was need to have proof from the police on whether Mutenda was on the run or not, as there was no evidence presented before the court in that regard.
Justice Benjamin Chikowore, acting on Mr Chesa’s consent, granted Mutenda bail on December 9, a day after he made his application.