ANOTHER suspect allegedly linked to the brutal murder of Air Zimbabwe public relations executive, Shingai Dhliwayo in Botswana three months ago, has been granted $150 bail pending trial by the High Court.
Dhliwayo was found dead in a bush about 5km from Ramokgwebana Border Post on April 30. She was found tied to a tree with her feet and hands bound while a piece of cloth was stuffed in her mouth.
Godfrey Mavhurafero of Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo was granted bail last week after filing an application at the Bulawayo High Court. Mavhurafero’s accomplice, Mgcini Xaba, was last month granted $100 bail by Justice Martin Makonese.
Mavhurafero was arrested in May together with Artwell Ndiweni, Mgcini Xaba and Dumisani Ncube.
Ncube and Ndiweni are still in custody.
In his judgment, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi said was it was clear from the affidavit of the investigating officer that there was no basis to deny Mavhurafero bail.
“There is absolutely no basis for denying the applicant bail especially as his co-accused found in possession of a cellphone linking him to the offence has been admitted to bail,” said Justice Mathonsi.
The judge said all the reasons relied upon by the State in seeking to deny Mavhurafero bail were not sustainable.
“Although the claim that the applicant and his alleged accomplices are cross-border criminals, there is no single reference speaking of any criminal activity mentioned. The applicant has explained that he was arrested merely because the police had come to his house looking for Mgcini Xaba, a co-accused whom he had hired as a builder to construct a structure at his house in Cowdray Park,” said the judge.
Justice Mathonsi ordered Mavhurafero to continue residing at his given address pending the finalisation of the matter and to report twice a week at Luveve Police Station as part of the bail conditions.
“In the result it is ordered that the applicant is admitted to bail pending trial on condition that he deposits $150 with the Registrar of the High Court in Bulawayo,” ruled the judge.
In his grounds of appeal, Mavhurafero, through his lawyers Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, argued that if given bail, there was no evidence that he would abscond since he was of a fixed abode and had no passport.
The State alleges that the four lured Dhliwayo to Botswana on the pretext that they wanted to hire her for some wedding services in the neighbouring country.
Upon her arrival in Botswana on April 30, Dhliwayo allegedly notified the accused persons who met her. They allegedly robbed her of valuables, an undisclosed amount of cash, a laptop, electronic gadgets and a cellphone.
The four took Dhliwayo, gagged and strangled her to death before they left her body tied to a tree trunk in a bushy area between Jackalas Village 1 and Gatswane River, about 5km from Ramokgwebana Border Post.
The body was discovered by a Botswana national on May 7 who made a report to the police. A post mortem was later conducted at Nyangabgwe Hospital in Francistown.
Botswana consultant forensic pathologist Doctor Mugoma concluded that Dhliwayo died due to strangulation and gagging. After a series of investigations, the four were allegedly found in possession of Dhliwayo’s grey pouch. Dhliwayo’s ZTE phone was recovered from Ndiweni’s wife.
The court heard that cellphone records show Ndiweni as the person who lured Dhliwayo to Botswana pretending to be a client.
The quartet, which is alleged to have criminal records in Zimbabwe and Botswana, was picked up at various locations around the city by detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Homicide section.