Rutendo Ngara, Court Reporter
A BULAWAYO woman who allegedly defrauded local musician Mrs Sandra Ndebele-Sibindi of $100 000 in a foreign currency deal was yesterday released on $500 bail.
Simangani Gwemende (45) of Emganwini suburb allegedly connived with Amanda Onwuchukwu and Lindiwe Ndlovu whose ages and residential addresses were not revealed in court to defraud the musician.
Onwuchukwu and Ndlovu are still at large.
Gwemende and her two accomplices had allegedly agreed to source foreign currency for Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi.
Bulawayo magistrate Mr Lizwe Jamela remanded Gwemende to January 29 and ordered her to report twice a week at Nkulumane Police Station and to continue residing at her given address until the matter is finalised.
She was also ordered to surrender her passport and not interfere with State witnesses.
In his ruling, Mr Jamela said the fears by the State that if released on bail Gwemende would abscond were baseless.
“The accused person is innocent until proven guilty. Incarcerating her for a long time means she would be denied freedom,” said Mr Jamela.
In her bail application through her lawyer Mr Costa Dube of Dube and Associates, Gwemende argued that there were no compelling reasons warranting her continued detention.
She disputed the State’s assertion that she had been on the run when she recently visited South Africa on business.
“There was no formal communication that she was wanted by the police. As a law-abiding citizen who has no record or previous convictions, she is supposed to be granted bail,” argued Mr Dube.
The State, which was represented by Mr Denmark Chihombe opposed the application arguing that Gwemende was facing a serious offence hence she was likely to abscond if granted bail.
Prosecuting, Mr Chihombe said on October 12, 2018, Gwemende and her accomplices connived to defraud Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi.
“The accused person approached the complainant and misrepresented to her that she was in a position to source foreign currency for her. The complainant believed that the accused person and her accomplices were genuine and gave them $100 000 in exchange for United States dollars,” he said.
After receiving the money, Gwemende and Onwuchukwu allegedly roped in Ndlovu who proceeded to Colleen Bawn Police Station where she falsely reported that $80 100 and US$8 230 had been stolen from her.
Investigations into the alleged theft revealed that Ndlovu had made a false report.
Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi reported the matter to the police, leading to Gwemende’s arrest. — @missngara