Con-Court orders fresh trial for CAPS boss

HARARE - The Constitutional Court has assigned another regional magistrate to handle Caps Holdings chairperson and FCM Motors director, Frederick Mutanda’s trial on charges of breaching the Exchange Control Act.

Mutanda, through advocate Thabani Mpofu, had applied for a permanent stay of prosecution arguing his constitutional rights had been violated.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku dismissed the application.

“The application for a permanent stay of prosecution is dismissed consequently upon the concession by the State regarding the trial of the applicant with the same magistrate,” Chidyausiku ruled yesterday.

“Proceedings in case CRB R172-3/12 are hereby quashed and the trial is to stand before another regional magistrate.”

Mutanda is alleged to have instructed his alleged accomplice Justin Majaka to apply to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) for a change of principal for 50 drug formulae (dossiers) from Rallies Harare to Caps International, Johannesburg in August 2011.

It is alleged that in October 2011, MCAZ registered the 50 dossiers with Caps International, Johannesburg as the new principal and owners, which changed ownership of the drug formulae from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

The exportation of the drug formulae, which are classified under the intellectual property rights or patents, had no approval from the exchange control authority, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, it is alleged.

Mutanda had argued that his right to be informed of the charge in order to answer to it in a trial and his right to a fair trial within a reasonable time were violated.

He further told the court that his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty had also been violated.

Mpofu argued that his client did not get a fair trial on a ruling by regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa for referral of the case from the magistrates courts to the Constitutional Court.

Mutanda claims he filed an application for his matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court but magistrate Mupeiwa did not make a ruling on the request, prompting him to directly approach the Constitutional Court.

Mpofu argued that the externalisation charges his client was facing did not make any sense since the alleged medical dossier he is being accused of sending to South Africa was in fact a letter not a dossier.

Responding to Mpofu’s submissions, Sharon Fero, representing the Prosecutor General’s office, agreed to quash some of the allegations but insisted the matter stand trial before another magistrate if Mutanda feels he was unfairly treated.

“In his application for referral, the applicant averred that the ruling by the fourth respondent (magistrate) dismissing the application violated his rights, a concession will be made,” Fero said.

“There should be reasonable suspicion that he committed the offence or was about to commit an offence. On remand, the applicant is not formally asked to plead. This is exactly the process that happens before the court.”

Fero argued that the dismissal of Mutanda’s application did not violate his rights or his right to a fair trial.

Tawanda Chitate, representing the Zimbabwe anti Corruption Commission (Zacc), said the commission should not be part of the application.

“Third respondent (Zacc) is just a witness so to speak,” said Chitate.

“It is rare that the witness is cited in cases in this court. Third respondent should not be part of the process because he has not violated any of the rights of the applicant.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.