The High Court has ordered the reinstatement of a senior Central Intelligence Organisation officer, Simbarashe Chester Matsvimbo, following his demotion.

He was demoted on allegations that he had extorted nearly US$10 000 from a Chinese investor in 2021.

In 2021, Chester was accused of conniving with fellow CIO agent, Patrick Badza, to extort Kyle Dongchuan Wang, who wanted to process work permits for his foreign employees at his company, Live Touch Limited.

Matsvimbo’s initial bail application was dismissed after the Harare Magistrates’ Courts ruled that there was a likely chance that he would abscond from justice.

High Court judge, Justice Benjamin Chikowero, agreed with the lower court’s decision and said there was a high chance that Matsvimbo would abscond out of fear of the circumstances of his crime.

“The appeal fails on the basis that the learned magistrate properly exercised his discretion in finding that the respondent (the State) had established that the appellant (Matsvimbo), if he were released on bail, will not stand trial.

“The appeal against bail refusal be and is hereby dismissed,” ruled Justice Chikowero.

Matsvimbo and Badza are part of the government’s Committee on Foreign Recruitments (CFR), which is responsible for approval of Temporary Employment Permits (TEPs) for foreign employees.

Wang had ventured into limestone mining and submitted applications for 33 TEPs to the Department of Immigration.

The department then forwarded the applications to the CFR, which then made a site visit to the mine located in Kwekwe.

“On 18 May 2021, Badza contacted Wang. The parties agreed to meet at Holiday Inn in Harare. During the meeting, Badza is said to have solicited for payment of US$300 in respect to each of the 33 application forms to take the total to US$9 900.

“He is alleged to have stated that all 33 application forms were in his office pending his approval and recommendations to the CFR. Wang promised to give Badza US$3 500 as deposit with the balance payable after the issuance of the TEPs,” State alleges.

Wang approached the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and a trap was set against the two State security agents.

Matsvimbo and Badza were arrested shortly after Wang handed them the money at a restaurant in Borrowdale.