GWERU: Prominent property mogul and land developer Smelly Dube was yesterday denied bail and got further remanded in custody to Tuesday.
Dube was not asked to plead when she appeared before Gokwe regional magistrate Taurai Manwere at the Gweru Magistrates Court.
According to State papers, Dube’s charges include allegedly working with former Midlands Governor, Jason Machaya, who was jailed over land deals last September, former senior Government official Matilda Manhambo and allocated land and developed it without engineering designs and as a result, 669 beneficiaries suffered prejudice of over US$460 000.
On count two and three, Dube, working with Machaya and former Gweru District Administrator Shepherd Marweyi allegedly allocated State land in Gweru, Shurugwi and Zvishavane defrauding the Government of US$9 million.
She did not attend the court hearing and was represented by her lawyers as she is still recuperating under police guard at Claybank Hospital where she has been admitted since Wednesday last week.
Manwere said there was no doubt that Dube committed fraud and conspiracy to criminal abuse of duty. He also said Dube through her legal team did not dispute the allegations but were focused on the legality of her arrest.
“After hearing arguments from the State and defence, one can see that the accused has a case to answer. She is facing three counts of fraud which are on the request for remand form.
“The defence didn’t argue with regards to the charges but was arguing that her arrest was illegal, it was unconstitutional. But the court feels that the accused has a case to answer. The accused is remanded in custody to March 9,” ruled Manwere.
Advocate Joshua Chirambwe is leading Dube’s defence team.
In September last year Machaya (60) and provincial planning officer Chaisayanyerwa Chibururu (50) were each sentenced to 48 months imprisonment for unlawfully allocating 17 799 stands to land developers in Gokwe town, who in turn gave them 1 000 stands worth US$900 000 which was computed as ZW$900 000.