AG wants Chiadzwa back in prison

HARARE - The High Court is still to hear the Attorney General’s appeal against Andrew Mutema’s ruling in which the judge freed businessman Newman Chiadzwa on allegations of unlawfully possessing diamonds.

The application follows Mutema’s 2011 decision, setting aside Chiadzwa’s conviction and sentence and quashed the Magistrates’ Courts criminal proceedings that resulted in the jailing of the suspected diamond dealer.

Chiadzwa had been sent to prison for five years and asked to pay a $132 764 fine in March 2010.

However, Mutema passed a default judgment against the State on June 29, 2011, resulting in Chiadzwa walking a free man.

The State is now seeking Chiadzwa’s re-committal to prison through an application for rescission of the judgment.

In the application, Albert Masamha from the AG’s office said there were no valid reasons for the court to pass a default judgment.

“Applicant also notes that the court order on the criminal review by the Honourable Justice Mutema was made without the concurrence of another judge as provided in terms of Sec 29 of the High Court Act (Chapter 7:06).

“Applicant strongly feels that the matter is supposed to be decided on merits rather than on unfounded technicalities,” reads part of the application.

The State further said that Chiadzwa’s lawyer Puwai Chiutsi of P Chiutsi Legal Practitioners filed a notice of set-down on the unopposed roll without its knowledge.

“Honourable Justice Mutema heard the application and he proceeded to quash the proceedings and set aside the conviction and sentence. As demonstrated above, there were no valid reasons for the default judgment to be entered. If anything is to go by, it was respondent (Chiadzwa) whose papers were not in order,” said Masamha.

Chiadzwa’s allegations arose in 2006 after he was allegedly illegally found in possession of diamonds. - Tendai Kamhungira

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