Top Prosecutor Gets 20-Year Sentence for Helping Notorious Armed Robbers Get Bail
A top prosecutor has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he helped notorious armed robbers to get released on bail.
Henry Mugove Muringani, Zimbabwe’s principal public prosecutor with the National Prosecuting Authority, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for preparing bail applications for notorious armed robbers using fake papers.
The Chronicle reports that Muringani was initially jailed for five years for each of the four counts of criminal abuse of office charges he was facing. However, Harare regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa suspended eight years for five years on condition that he does not commit a crime involving dishonesty. This leaves the former officer of the court to serve 12 years in prison.
Muringani’s Actions Erode Public Confidence in the Criminal Justice System
In her sentence, Mrs Gofa noted that Muringani’s conduct eroded public confidence in the criminal justice system, as he abused the trust vested in him as a public official. She also indicated that he turned a deaf ear to the government’s call to combat corruption at all levels, which called for a deterrent punishment.
According to reports, detectives from CID Homicide arrested suspected armed robber Tawanda Mutengo, who had been on the run for a long time in December 2021. Upon arrest, Mutengo was found in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Mutengo was taken to court the following day, where he was advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
Muringani Facilitated Bail for Suspected Armed Robber
Mutengo heard that there was someone from the NPA who was assisting suspects facing armed robbery and other serious crimes to get bail while in remand prison. Muringani then facilitated another bail application using the case relating to an armed robbery charge, but with rape charges. Muringani demanded payment for his service, and he was paid in instalments. However, the papers prepared by Muringani were defective, as they bore the wrong charge of attempted murder instead of an unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition offense.
Mutengo applied for bail using the papers prepared by Muringani, and he was granted $55,000 bail. Upon being granted bail, Mutengo was not released by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, as one of his cases relating to an offence of armed robbery was not dealt with by the court.
When Muringani further prepared papers for a bail application for armed robbery on February 17, 2022, he substituted the offence with one of rape. Detectives arrested Muringani, and the police recovered two cellphones and a laptop believed to have been used to commit the offence. Detectives also arrested Vincent Kondo, Bill Tirihama, Edwin Muchagwa, and Prosper Chidaushe on armed robbery charges.
Top Prosecutor Muringani Demanded Payment for His Services
While the four were in remand prison, they heard that Muringani was assisting those remanded in custody to get bail. Some of the inmates gave their relatives Muringani’s phone numbers so that they could contact him for assistance. Muringani demanded money from Kondo, Tirihama, Muchagwa, and Chidaushe’s relatives in exchange for his services. Kondo’s mother found US$300, which she gave Muringani and was assured that her son would get bail. Tirihama’s wife paid US$200 for the services, Muchagwa’s relatives paid US$1000, and Chidaushe’s brother paid US$400.