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Zimbabwe Charges Tsvangirai Aides With Breaking Secrecy Laws

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March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean prosecutors said four officials from the Movement for Democratic Change party who work in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office have been charged with breaching state secrecy laws.

The four were arrested on March 17, a day after the nation held a referendum on a new constitution. They also stand accused of impersonating the police and possessing material for criminal use. If convicted, they face a fine or a 20-year jail term. Prosecutors have said the four should be denied bail.

“The offense the accused persons are facing are very serious,” Michael Mugabe, the chief law officer in the Attorney’s General office, said at a court hearing today in Harare, the capital. “There is a very strong probability of abscondment.”

Defense lawyer Alec Muchadehama told Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa the case against his clients was weak and their detention was unlawful.

Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer who was at the scene of the arrests was also detained. She and the four others were remanded into custody and will appear in court again tomorrow.

The MDC and President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front have shared power since 2009 following a disputed election that international observers say was marred by violence. New elections are due to be held later this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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