Con-Court sets trial date for Gono, Kereke case

HARARE - Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku yesterday presided over the pre-trial hearing of the constitutional application lodged by Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke, who is seeking to push the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to investigate former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono on graft charges, allegedly committed during the time he was at the helm of the central bank.

The meeting took place in Chidyausiku’s chambers at the Constitutional Court. Gono and Denford Chirindo, the Zacc chairman, attended in person but Kereke did not pitch up. He was represented by his lead counsel Advocate Lewis Uriri and his team.

Advocate Girach “Figs” Firoz represented Gono while Itayi Ndudzo of Mutamangira and Associates represented Zacc.

Tendai Biti also attended the meeting, representing Gono, through Advocate Girach.

Kereke’s lawyers in their earlier submission raised objections to the former Finance minister representing Gono. By bringing in Advocate Girach to represent Gono, the Biti team essentially pre-empted the said objections, legal experts said.

Walter Chikwana, the chief registrar of the Constitutional Court, said the hearing of the meeting in chambers between the Chief Justice and the parties’ counsel resolved that tentative dates for the hearing be set for September 17-18, 2014.

“The parties were given notice of the court’s desire to be addressed at the hearing of this matter on the joinder or non-joinder of the prosecutor-general and the commissioner-general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” Chikwana said.

“Parties undertake to discuss the best way to proceed, given the existence of a number of preliminary issues. Counsel undertook to draft a pre-hearing minute on the issues.”

It was felt enough time was given prior to the September 17 trial opening for all parties to study the submissions made in papers by the three parties, namely Gono, Kereke and Zacc.

The legal representatives were also advised to meet among themselves to thrash out any areas of differences before the trial date.

The proceedings, which lasted about 45 minutes, ended with all parties amicably agreeing on the way forward.

James Makiya, one of Kereke’s lawyers, said: “We appeared in chambers and we have agreed to meet on June 10 for another meeting to deliberate on why commissioner general (Augustine) Chihuri and prosecutor general Johannes Tomana should appear on the application because they are interested parties.

“We have also agreed for the provisional date for the main court to be the 17 and the 18 of September.”

Facts are that Kereke, who is ex-advisor to the RBZ governor, filed a Constitutional Court application seeking to push the Zacc to investigate Gono.

Biti, as Gono’s lead counsel, filed heads of argument on the retired RBZ boss’ behalf on February 4 this year, which documents were served on Kereke and Zacc.

Kereke was supposed to have filed his heads of argument by February 21, before the date was shifted to March 7 and eventually March 11.

Despite Kereke filing his heads of argument out of time, Gono preferred to have the matter heard, despite the circumstances, saying it was important to him and his family.

Responding to Kereke’s application in papers filed earlier, Gono said Kereke’s graft claims were baseless.

“The instant application is clearly one that is short on the law but long on heat, malice and verbiage,” Gono said.

He said for Kereke’s application to succeed, it must be established among other issues, whether the claim is justiciable or if the Constitutional Court has the jurisdiction to grant the remedy sought.

Kereke told the court that the failure by Zacc to investigate allegations of abuse of office and corruption was unconstitutional, adding the Zacc has an obligation to receive and consider complaints from the public.

However, Gono said the issues that need to be satisfied for the application to succeed were cumulative in nature, adding that the application was fatally defective.

Gono said he conducted business on behalf of the RBZ and if ever the central bank had issues with him, then it was supposed to be the complainant.

He said the RBZ was an interested party, considering that in the event of the court ordering an investigation, the central bank would be required to open and avail its books and official documents, among other requisites.

The maverick economist made claims that Gono bribed officials from Zacc saying huge amounts of money were moved from the central bank to the commission, but Zacc officials say it was infact Kereke who authorised the transaction.

Gono said allowing such a claim to succeed would open a floodgate of “frivolous and vexatious applications.”

He said Kereke is approaching the court with dirty hands, basing his allegations on malice, adding that the former advisor had flouted his conditions of service, including the bank’s code of conduct.

Gono said Kereke had made several claims including treating him like a criminal by laying false allegations, yet he had not been tried and convicted.

“Affidavits cannot be used as a football field in which one party reflects his or her command of the foul language,” Gono said. “The applicant’s papers are replete with explicit details of this offending language.

“Litigation is not a contestation of one’s proximity to ill and disrespectful language.”

He told the court Kereke had failed to establish any facts to prove that Zacc had acted in violation of its constitutional mandate, adding that the Constitutional Court was not a forum for personal grudges or political scores.

Zacc also urged the court to dismiss Kereke’s application with costs.

 

Comments (3)

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WERTHJITFCF - 28 May 2014

Nhai Biti Biti Biti! Wher are you standing? yesterday you were saying zpfs are thieves today you are defending them in the courts.

wakah - 28 May 2014

Tendai Biti what are u doing representing the al Quaeda of Zimbabwe? .Uri Bete remunhu chairo!

Johno - 29 May 2014

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