Catch-and-release: Mnangagwa’s ally Mayor Wadyajena walks away free on massive Cottco fraud

Mayor Justice Wadyajena
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Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena, who was accused of fraud has been set free pending completion of investigations after a Harare court granted his application for refusal for further remand.

Harare magistrate Mr Taurai Manuwere removed Wadyajena, former Cottco bosses Pius Manamike, Maxmore Njanji, Fortunate Molai together with Chiedza Danha who were accused of defrauding Cottco of more than 5 million United States dollars on remand this Monday.

This comes after the five filed an application for refusal of further remand arguing that the State had failed to proceed to trial within a reasonable time.

In his ruling Mr Manuwere noted that the State arrested the accused persons to investigate and it is not known when the State will be able to get the documents it’s basing it’s case on from other jurisdictions like Mauritius and Netherlands.
One of the lawyers, Mr Oliver Marwa explains what the ruling means.

“What this means is that our clients have essentially been acquitted by the court because they have no evidence since they want to go to other jurisdictions. So the State will proceed by way of summons when they are ready.”

Wadyajena and his co-accused were on remand for over six months.
They were accused of defrauding Cottco of more than five million United States dollars.
The State will proceed by way of summons when they complete investigations.

When Wadyajena and company were arrested, ZACC had initially bragged that they had investigated and discovered evidence so overwhelming that it warranted them attaching the assets of the legislator including 27 fuel trucks, a Lamborghini Urus which had been paid for a year prior to any transaction with COTTCO and a BMW X6M which Wadyajena purchased in 2012 but shockingly attached as part of proceeds of a 2019 allegedly crime. ZACC however was never able to show the court any evidence of a fraud or money laundering over the course of six months, giving credence to defence lawyers’ claims that this was nothing but a laughably executed political witch hunt. Legal experts agree that the initial documents placed before the courts would never have met the normal threshold for arrest or prosecution if ZACC did not have extraordinary powers that allow it to circumvent and intimidate normal legal procedure.

According to various sources and online reports, the arrest of Wadyajena emanated from a factional political battle, allegedly spearheaded by his rivals where the now disgraced former ZACC Commissioner John Makamure was used as a pawn. Wadyajena was targeted because of his closeness to the President, with the four innocent co-accused being reduced to collateral damage.

Makamure who was working with other rogue elements within ZACC to compromise the President’s bid for a second term by painting the Party as riddled by corrupt elements, is well known to be aligned with the now crippled and insignificant anti Mnangagwa faction and who runs an American funded NGO targeting perceived abuse of funds by Government. Makamure was also discovered to be running a campaign to challenge Wadyajena for his seat in Nembudziya which presented a clear and brazen conflict of interest.

As if to prove the claims that he was a political target, shortly after Wadyajena arrest, some members of Midlands PCC quickly moved to have him expelled from ZANU-PF and it’s reported that the President was made aware of the machinations and acted to protect him. It is further reported that a few days later, Parliament tried to remove him from his role as Chairperson of the powerful Agriculture Committee, but curiously the President sent him to UK and Germany the following week on parliament business in a strong show of support. Despite calls for him to step down, Wadyajena remained adamant that he was a political target and refused to comply with his conspirators wishes, some say he did so with full knowledge his innocence was both believed and therefore protected by the highest powers of the land.

Instead of Wadyajena going to jail as he had envisaged, Makamure himself is now the one facing criminal charges according to his charge sheet after the President announced a tribunal to investigate Makamure. All indications are that with the level of seriousness of the charges, the former Commissioner may be a guest for a long time at Chikurubi.

Source – Byo24News