Kurotwi trial subcontracted to SA: Mtetwa

HARARE - Harare lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has questioned the State’s move to subcontract Core Mining director Lovemore Kurotwi’s trial to South Africans, after giving them leeway to conduct an inspection-in-loco in the neighbouring country.

Kurotwi is facing $2 billion fraud charges.

He is jointly charged with ex- Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) manager, Dominic Mubaiwa.

In July last year, High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu ordered an inspection-in-loco to be held in South Africa, after the government chief law officer Chris Mutangadura made an application for the inspection.

Following the granting of the application, Mutangadura wrote to South African officials for permission to conduct the inspection-in-loco.

The South Africans responded saying the inspection would be led by a South African magistrate meaning, a local judge would travel to a foreign country to be led in the case by a magistrate.

However, Mtetwa has since written a letter to Mutangadura, claiming the State had taken a unilateral decision, which affects her clients’ rights.

“We note from your letter that the inspection in loco in South Africa will be led by the chief magistrate in Kimberley with the deputy director of public prosecution in Kimberley presumably acting on your behalf,” Mtetwa said.

She further said that it appeared the State had subcontracted Kurotwi’s trial to South Africans. Mtetwa inquired from the State, the person who will be responsible for the costs of the South African counsel and the state of preparedness.

“We ask these questions because we do not believe that a chief magistrate who is unaware of the background of the matter can properly conduct an inspection-in-loco with personnel who would equally be at sea on the case itself,” Mtetwa said.

In the letter, Mtetwa further said that South Africans had no jurisdiction to conduct the inspection-in-loco.

Bhunu asked the State to compile a report on how the inspection was going to be conducted, before deferring proceedings to February 14. The inspection was initially pencilled for yesterday and Tuesday.

Charges against Kurotwi and Mubaiwa arose after a failed investment by South African diamond firm-Benn Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR) into the diamond mining in Marange fields.

Kurotwi is accused of misrepresenting to the ministry of Mines and ZMDC that Core Mining was a special purpose vehicle of BSGR, which was supposed to be the guarantor in a joint venture agreement between Core-Mining and ZMDC to exploit diamonds in Marange.

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