BUSINESSMAN Ali Mohamad has been allowed to travel to South Africa for business meetings with a view to convince investors to invest in the country’s mining industry, with the court agreeing to release his passport for a period of two weeks.
Mohamad, who is the director of Ali Japan (PVT) (LTD) is on $100 000 bail with his passport held by the clerk of court after his arrest together with Zimbabwe Miners Federation suspended boss Henrietta Rushwaya on allegations of gold smuggling.
He appeared before regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Friday seeking the release of his passport and scrapping of reporting conditions for two months to allow him to travel and he volunteered to deposit a further $2 million on top of his bail and title deeds to a Hatfield property as surety for his return.
The court, however, did not agree with the two months period he asked for and granted him 14 days based on what his invitation letter stated.
“Whilst the court agrees that accused’s prayer be awarded, it is concerned by the period accused prays to be given access to the passport. He wants two months. This is against the reason for the request which is of just two to five days duration. That aspect cannot succeed. The court will only allow a release of just a 14-day period,” the magistrate said.
Reporting conditions which were imposed when he was granted bail have also been set aside for 14 days starting February 6 to February 19. He was also ordered to deposit $2million and original title deeds for the Hatfield property as surety for the period.
The court noted that as he has volunteered increasing security, “His abscondment means all this will go up in smoke”. In applying for the passport, Mohamad through his lawyer Admire Rubaya indicated that he was on his way to convince other investors to come and invest in the country.
He argued that the arrest of investors in the country is counterproductive and it destroys the goodwill the new dispensation has made. “The arrest of investors destroys the goodwill made by the government. He (Mohamad) is one of the real investors that the new dispensation managed to convince through various international forums to come and invest in the country and to improve the economy and better the lives of people.
“He is an investor in this country and though he is accused of a criminal offence he has not stopped investing in this jurisdiction. “The arrest of the accused person as an investor where the arrest and prosecution is unwarranted is counterproductive. He does not claim to be special but where there is no evidence he ought not to be arrested. “This is a brazen abuse of arresting and prosecuting of non-deserving investors,” Rubaya submitted.