'Ghanaian businessman a fugitive from justice'

HARARE - The State has said a Ghanaian businessperson at the centre of a $6 million diamond bribery scandal has no right to be heard because he was a fugitive from justice.

Kingsley Ghansah, whose appeal was struck off the High Court roll yesterday, is appealing against a five-year jail term he was handed after being convicted for illegal possession of seven kilogrammes of gold.

Ghansah’s case became dramatic following President Robert Mugabe’s sensational revelations that ex-ZMDC boss Goodwills Masimirembwa demanded a $6 million bribe from him.

It took a further spin after the Ghanaian national was issued with an arrest warrant for failing to return to Zimbabwe, following a temporary release of his passport.

However, chief law officer Chris Mutangadura, in his papers opposing the conviction and sentence appeal, said Ghansah “lacks the requisite locus standi to prosecute his appeal.”

The matter could not be heard yesterday after it emerged that it had been erroneously set down.

Ghansah reportedly went back to his native country while on $10 000 bail pending appeal.

“It is now clear to us that the appellant (Ghansah) being a foreigner and a purported investor must have a licence from Zimbabwe Investment Authority in terms of which he was to invest in a certain type of business and injecting a known amount of capital,” Mutangadura said.

He further said Ghansah was approaching the court with dirty hands and cannot expect to be heard.

“He did not return in the time stipulated and an unauthenticated medical certificate was produced as the reason for his failure to return,” Mutangadura said, adding that fears for his personal security had been “grossly exaggerated”.

However, Ghansah, through his lawyer Admire Rubaya, said despite having pleaded guilty to the charges, he was going to alter his plea on appeal, upon submission of a satisfactory explanation.

Rubaya said Ghansah had been ill-advised by his previous lawyer, resulting in him tendering a guilty plea, yet he had a defence to offer.

“At the end of the day, it would be a miscarriage of justice for a clearly innocent person to be convicted on the wrong advice of a legal practitioner, where no trial has then taken place,” Rubaya said, adding that the plea was wrong.

He said the owner of the gold in question was a licensed gold dealer and in order for the court to find him guilty of possession, there was need to prove that he was in physical control and had intention to possess the mineral.

Rubaya said the court has misdirected itself and that it made a wrong conclusion, which warrants the quashing of the sentence.

He said Ghansah’s case raised special circumstances, which the court ought to have considered on sentencing options.


Comments (5)

Meanwhile Masimirembwa is a free man enjoyed his loot without any care in this world. Some people just reap where they did not sow and flaunt their ill-gotten wealth. Welcome to Zimbabwe, the land of stolen milk and honey!

Mbuzvambuzva - 30 October 2013

...... a free man enjoying his loot......

Mbuzvambuzva - 30 October 2013

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BENEFITS - 31 October 2013

As long as we do not settle on the understanding that a person is innocent until proven guilty by a comoetant court of law, we will still be far from the helm of being civilised as we wish to portray. The president was within his rights in making allegations and even more so in calling for an investigation and prosecution. He could not sentence him nor declare him guilty because that would be for the courts. After his anger at what he believed had happened, he still had to await the findings of due process. But the bottom line is that an allegation can be made against any person by anyone high or low. If a mere allegation would be the same as a conviction, then every living person is in prison right now. If you are not in prison yourself now, thats how you must understand how good it is that a person is innocent until proven guilty for there are accusations once levelled against you. Masimirembwa is innocent even when we hate him although we surely have no basis of hating another human being. If one day any court tries and convicts him, he shall then be the thief you imagine. As of the moment he is not and no amount of allegations, no matter their source will ever make him guilty in a civil society abiding under the rule of law. We cant wish for the rule of law when it suits us and wish otherwise at the turn of events.

The Corrector - 31 October 2013

Correction! I meant to say a person is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law.

The Corrector - 31 October 2013

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