Supreme Court quashes Airforce captain's dismissal

HARARE - The Supreme Court has quashed a ruling made by the Court Martial to dismiss an Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) officer over alleged negligence and failure to discharge his duties.

The highest court in the land ruled that the Court Martial erred in dismissing Reason Chigogo as it had not followed the Defence Act.

Chigogo was on November 5, 2009 convicted by the general Court Martial of contravening paragraph 19 (4) of the first schedule of the Defence Act on the basis that he failed to take responsibility for state property and “negligently performed his duties resulting in a deficiency”.

He was subsequently sentenced to 22 months imprisonment, demoted from master sergeant to aircraftman and discharged with humiliation from the defence forces.

Chigogo appealed to the Supreme Court seeking an overturn of the conviction.

According to Court Martial papers, Chigogo on September 25, 2006 was instructed to be captain of the Chegutu Military Base team at a shooting competition hosted by Thornhill Air Base in Gweru.

The Airforce alleged he stole rounds of ammunition. The charges were curiously brought three years after the competition. He received 2 000 rounds of ammunition for AK rifles and 200 rounds of 2mm balls ammunition.

According to the court papers, Chigogo returned 153 rounds of 9mm balls of ammunition to Chegutu Air Base.
Nothing was said of the matter until three years had elapsed. On April 19, 2009, around 2am, a window at Chigogo’s Chegutu airbase home was broken.

At 6am the same morning, Chigogo discovered several rounds of ammunition in his flower bed.

When he reported the matter to the military police, investigations were carried out and Chigogo was subsequently arrested and charged for theft leading to his dismissal and subsequent appeal.

Supreme Court judges Luke Malaba, Vernanda Ziyambi and Annie-Mary Gowora set aside the Court Martial’s ruling on the basis that the trial of Chigogo “commenced on October 21 2009 well after a three-year period,” that is prescribed by the Defence Act.

“The appeal is allowed. The conviction of the appellant (Chigogo) and the sentence imposed by the court a quo are hereby set aside.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.