Tsvangirai's aide applies for Supreme Court referral

HARARE - Thabani Mpofu, director of research in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, has made an application to have his matter referred to the Supreme Court.

Mpofu’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama made the application before magistrate Anita Tshuma.

Muchadehama said the State, which is being represented by Harare area prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi, was an interested party.

“His name (Murombedzi) is mentioned in the warned and cautioned statement in the matter between Mpofu and three others which is linked to this case,” Muchadehama said.

“The names of the Attorney General (AG) and his deputy are also mentioned; therefore the accused (Mpofu) will not have a fair trial because there is conflict of interest.”

He said officers of the AG do not have a monopoly to prosecute accused persons as the office can appoint anyone who is a registered legal practitioner in Zimbabwe to do so.

Among some of the reasons cited by Muchadehama in their referral application is that evidence was gathered illegally by using a defective search warrant that had spelt Mpofu’s name wrongly.

The warrant did not specify the address of the place to be searched and did not identify the exact items to be searched.

Murombedzi, however, said that the application made by Muchadehama was displaced, frivolous and vexatious as there ought to have been a prior written notification.

Mpofu is facing charges of contravening Section 4 (1) of the Firearms Act for allegedly failing to renew a firearm certificate and Section 28 (2) of the Firearms Act for allegedly keeping a firearm in a non-secure place.

It is alleged that during a search of his premises on March 17, police officers confiscated a firearm that was neither registered nor kept in a secure place after it was found hidden under a pile of clothes in the house.

When police inquired to see a certificate for the weapon, Mpofu allegedly failed to produce the required documentation leading to his arrest.

Mpofu together with Felix Matsinde, Warship Dumba and Mehluli Moyo is also facing charges of impersonating a police officer, contravening the Official Secrets Act and being in possession of articles for criminal use.

Allegations against Mpofu and his colleagues arose on March 17 when detectives received information that they were in possession of dockets they were privately compiling allegedly to discredit the judicial system.

It is alleged the dockets contained information that the police and the AG had failed or refused to investigate cases of corruption involving prominent government officials among them Johannes Tomana and police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri.

Tshuma will hand down ruling in the application today. - Helen Kadirire

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