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25 Aug 2004 11:44
Zimbabwe’s High Court has ordered the release from custody of Zanu-PF politician and businessman James Makamba, saying all five charges against him should be dropped.
Makamba, who has been in prison awaiting charges for six months, was accused of “externalising” foreign currency. Under Zimbabwean law it is illegal to move foreign currency out of the country without a permit from the central bank.
Justice Lawrence Kamocha late on Tuesday set aside an earlier magistrate’s order refusing to free the businessman.
Kamocha said: “There is an order that Makamba be discharged and that he is hereby found not guilty and acquitted on all five counts.”
Meanwhile, Makamba’s release was shrouded in confusion on Tuesday night when the state announced it will appeal the High Court ruling.
“We can confirm Mr Makamba was released last night,” a spokesperson for Makamba’s lawyer, George Chikumbirike, said on Wednesday.
Makamba was one of a growing list of ruling Zanu-PF heavyweights jailed on charges of corruption and externalising funds this year.
Still in prison is former finance minister Chris Kureneri, accused of externalising currency to build a lavish mansion in Cape Town.—Sapa
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