The wife of Zimbabwe’s vice president was remanded in custody on Monday after appearing in court to face charges of fraud, money-laundering and attempted murder of her husband.
Marry Mubaiwa, 38, who is the wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, 63, was arrested by Zimbabwe’s anti-graft commission on Saturday.
She was initially detained on suspicion of contravening the country’s exchange control act and of fraud.
Mubaiwa appeared in a Harare court on Monday and was held pending a December 30 hearing. She did not speak at the court but her attorney told local media they would apply for bail.
Prosecutors said between 2018 and May this year, Mubaiwa withdrew huge amounts of money from her foreign currency account in Zimbabwe to deposit into bank accounts in neighbouring South Africa under the pretext of paying for goods bought in that country.
She allegedly used part of the money to buy a house in the Waterkloof Golf Estate in the South African capital Pretoria and two luxury cars.
Prosecutors accuse Mubaiwa, a businesswoman and former model, of attempted murder while she accompanied her husband when he was airlifted for medical attention in South Africa.
In South Africa she allegedly took the ailing Chiwenga to a hotel, refusing to take him to hospital until his aides forced their way and took him to a clinic.
Prosecutors said “with intent to cause serious harm,” Mubaiwa went to Chiwenga’s hospital ward and asked his security aides to leave saying she wanted to have a private conversation with her husband.
Alone with the bedridden Chiwenga, Mubaiwa allegedly removed an intravenous line and a catheter from Chiwenga, causing him to bleed profusely, the prosecution said.
“The accused then forced the complainant off his bed and took him by the hand and started walking out of the ward before being intercepted by the security personnel at the door,” the charge sheet for attempted murder count said.
Chiwenga, who led the ouster of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, went to South Africa to seek emergency medical attention for an undisclosed ailment, before being transferred to a Chinese hospital from where he was discharged late November.
On his arrival, he was welcomed by China’s deputy ambassador to Harare; while his wife, Marry, was absent.
She was also not at a welcome ceremony held for Chiwenga at his rural home.