Tsvangirai's aides apply for Supreme Court referral

HARARE - Four officials in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office charged for being in possession of dockets that could discredit the judicial system yesterday filed an application for referral of the case to the Supreme Court.

Thabani Mpofu together with Felix Matsinde, Warship Dumba and Mehluli Moyo, through their lawyer Alec Muchadehama, lodged an application for referral in their ongoing criminal trial.

The defence team put Mpofu on the witness stand first to justify that his constitutional rights were violated by the arrest. Matsinde, Dumba and Moyo are expected to take the witness stand on Wednesday.

Mpofu argued that Chief Superintendent Mukazhi and his team took documents that had no relevance to the case.

He told the court that they confiscated his laptops, IPads and family photo albums, “while all the while looking for the camera that I allegedly used to take pictures of top government officials”.

They want the Supreme Court to determine whether their constitutional rights were violated or not before proceeding to trial.

They had earlier filed an application to have the court order the State to furnish them with particular documents that will help them compile their defence outline. The court dismissed that application.

In the application, Muchadehama said the State would not be prejudiced by simply providing the required particulars.

However, State prosecutor Michael Reza objected, arguing that if the State acted in that way, it would be akin to assisting Muchadehama with his defence outline.

“The defence is asking the court to be party to abuse of the criminal justice system by making submissions that could hinder the progressing of the trial,” Reza said.

Magistrate Tendai Mahwe found no merit in that application and dismissed it.

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

A team of detectives went to Mpofu’s residence and found some of the documents, including a laptop and a pistol.

It is alleged the suspects indicated that they were legal advisors to the PM and researching on corruption and criminal abuse of office and the appointment of Chihuri.

Investigations by the police further revealed that the accused were being bankrolled by Institute of Democratic Alliance of Zimbabwe (Idazim), the court heard. -
Helen Kadirire

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