Motorists sue Chihuri, Chombo

HARARE - At least 32 motorists have dragged Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and Commissioner General of police Augustine Chihuri to the High Court to recover their motor vehicles that were impounded by the city council with police assistance.

Farikayi Madzikatira and 31 others, through their lawyer Runouya Zimudzi, claim they were arrested at various places in Harare between June 1 and June 10, this year.

Zimudzi has so far facilitated the release of over 100 other motor vehicles that were previously impounded by the city council.

In the present application, the motorists cited Chombo, Chihuri, officer-in-charge Harare Central Police Station, Harare City Council (HCC) and the Sheriff of the High Court as respondents.

“…upon the applicants’ arrest and arrival at Harare Central Police Station, the police officers acting on instructions from one, both or all of the first to fourth respondents, took the applicants’ vehicles…,” reads part of the court papers.

The motorists said the motor vehicles are still detained at the HCC premises.

“The applicants were not even accorded a chance to take their valuables from the vehicles.

“The applicants were never advised of the offence they are facing or suspected to have committed. There is no legal basis for the vehicles to be detained as the Road Traffic Act (Chapter 13:11) does not give the first to fourth respondents any right to interfere with the applicants’ constitutional right to private property in the circumstances,” the court heard.

In his affidavit, Madzikatira said that police and the city council did not have any legal basis to impound the motor vehicles, because the motorists were not advised of the offences that they committed.

“…their (respondents’) actions provoke the right to property enshrined in the Constitution. The first to fourth respondents did not get any order to detain the vehicles.

“The continued detention of the motor vehicles without any court order for the detention of the motor vehicles is a clear usurpation of the judiciary powers by the…respondents, which is in clear contravention of the doctrine of separation of powers,” the court heard.

The motorists further said that the matter must be heard on an urgent basis, because they were being asked to pay storage fees.

“…the storage costs will continue to accrue to a point where they can even exceed the value of the motor vehicles in question as it is very uncertain as to when the vehicles will be released and the vehicles will continue to depreciate value while parked at the instance of the first to fourth respondent,” Madzikatira said.

The motorists argued that they were suffering irreparable harm by the continued “unlawful” detention of their motor vehicles, which they said they would want to use to go to work or pick up and drop their children to and from school.

Comments (2)

Ehe ipai vanhu mota dzavo. Council would want to make money through unforseen means. Munoti vanhu ivava vanoiwana kupi mari. VaMadzikatira itai kuti vanhu vapihwe mota dzavo with no strings attached coz havana mhosva.

grace mubi - 27 June 2016

I agree with you, only if the accused did not commit any offence.

bruce - 28 June 2016

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