Supreme Court defers ex-spy Mukandi's case

HARARE - The Supreme Court has postponed indefinitely ruling on an ex-Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) deputy director Lovemore Mukandi’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution in an alleged fraud case.

Mukandi and his co-accused Nelson Mawere-Mubvumbi, a former chief transport officer in the CIO, David Nyabando who was the administration officer and a businessman Mohamed Ahmed Meman are being charged with fraud, which was allegedly committed 14 years ago.

The case could not be heard yesterday, because the court was not properly constituted according to the new Constitution. According to the new Constitution signed by President Robert Mugabe last week, a Constitutional Court should have nine judges.

Supreme Court judges Paddington Garwe, Anne-Marie Gowora and Bharat Patel said the matter should be set down again before a properly constituted court.

Mukandi and his accomplices are accused of fraud involving millions of Zimbabwean dollars.

Mukandi, who fled to Canada 12 years ago and had an outstanding arrest warrant, was arrested on arrival at the Harare International Airport in September 2011.

Mukandi, Mubvumbi and Nyabando are represented by Julia Wood, while Tinase Tanyanyiwa is representing Meman.

Applying for the matter to be referred to the Supreme Court at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, Mukandi’s lawyer said the matter was taking too long to be finalised considering that the allegations arose in 1996.

The quartet’s lawyers argued that their clients’ rights to liberty were being violated in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The four were arrested in 1999 and placed on remand before being removed from remand in January 2000, after trial failed to kick off, only to be summoned to court in 2011 after Mukandi’s arrest.

Harare regional magistrate granted the application for the matter to be referred to the Supreme Court, after agreeing that it had taken long for the four to be brought to trial within a reasonable time. - Tendai Kamhungira

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