Fairness Moyana and Leonard Ncube, Chronicle Reporters
VICTORIA Falls Town Clerk Ronnie Dube, who is facing a charge of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer, will spend the weekend in cells awaiting his bail ruling on Monday.
Dube (54) was arrested on Wednesday by officers from the joint Police Anti-Corruption Unit (Pacu) and Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu).
Through his lawyer, Matshobana Ncube of Ncube and Partners assisted by Nomusa Khumalo of Mvhiringi and Partners, Dube yesterday applied for bail before Hwange provincial magistrate, Ms Gladmore Mushove.
“My client has a right to liberty. A person can only be denied bail when there are compelling reasons to do so which is the State’s role to prove why the accused should not be released on bail. The State has failed to show compelling reasons why the accused should not be released on bail. It’s not acceptable to this court to merely state that the accused will interfere with witnesses or destroy evidence without producing any evidence of an attempt before. At this stage it’s just speculation,” said Dube’s lawyers.
The State led by Mrs Martha Cheda opposed the bail application arguing that Dube was a flight risk, would interfere with witnesses and temper with evidence.
“Accused person is facing a serious offence in which he used his position and because of that may interfere with witnesses and temper with evidence. Accused is not on suspension at work and he is a senior employee who if released might take advantage to destroy evidence. The sentence attached to this kind of crime upon conviction may cause him to abscond trial which makes him a flight risk. Furthermore, the investigation officer indicated that there are ongoing investigations which will require two weeks to finalise and as such we oppose bail,” said Cheda.
Ms Mushove remanded Dube in custody to Monday for bail ruling.
Allegations are that Dube (54) made council sell a commercial stand to a local tour operator, Shearwater Adventures in 2019 without following tender procedures.
Prosecutors allege that on September 28, 2017, Dube received a request to purchase additional land behind stands 1381, 1382, 1383, 1384, 1385, 1386 and 943 from Mr Ntokozo Mlilo, who is group human resources manager for Shearwater Adventures in Victoria Falls.
He allegedly caused for valuation of the stands by Backstone Properties who responded on February 11, 2019.
Prosecutors allege that Dube misrepresented to Victoria Falls ordinary full council meeting that one applicant Shearwater Adventures had expressed interest in commercial stand number 1782 yet there were other companies that had also expressed interest such as Wild Horizons.
Council adopted the report and resolved to offer the stand to Shearwater Adventures without following tender procedures.
It is alleged that council has a resolution passed on April 1, 2014 which requires that all commercial stands should be sold through tender.