Gandawa wins Con-Court referral

HARARE - Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa — accused of misappropriating $430 000 meant for Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) — got a reprieve yesterday after he was removed from remand.

He was subsequently granted leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) after arguing that due process was not complied with in the handling of his matter.

Gandawa was jointly charged with Zimdef finance director Nicholas Mapute on charges of fraud and criminal abuse of office.

Mapute will remain on remand pending finalisation of the matter.

In his application for referral of the case to the Con-Court, Gandawa challenged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s power to arrest and detain.

Gandawa claimed that the Zacc infringed on his constitutional rights by failing to warn and caution him of the charges he faced.

He further argued that the Prosecutor-General (PG) acted unconstitutionally by recommending the commissioner general of police to arrest him, adding that a warrant of search and seizure issued by Zacc was unlawful.

He argued that Zacc does not, in terms of the Constitution, have the power to arrest and detain suspects.

He also argues that the PG does not, in terms of the Constitution, have the power to order the police to arrest an individual. He successfully stopped his appearance in court, describing it as an illegality.

Harare magistrate Vongai Guwuriro ruled that Zacc’s conduct breached Gandawa’s constitutional rights.

“It is not in dispute that accused person attended an interview at Zacc in the company of his lawyer and spent three hours there before the legal practitioner left.

“He was later advised that he was under arrest and denied the right to consult a legal practitioner of choice,” Muchuchuti said.

“ . . . his rights as envisaged in Section 50 of the Constitution were violated. This now leaves the Con-Court to determine Zacc’s powers to arrest.

“The apex court would also need to consider whether the prosecutor-general has power to order (police) commissioner-general to instigate an arrest.”

Guwuriro also nullified a warrant of search and seizure that was obtained by Zacc to gain access to Gandawa’s property.

According to the State, between December 2015 and April last year, Gandawa corruptly concealed his personal interest in various transactions when he engaged his company Fuzzy Technologies — where he is co-director with his daughter Clarence — to supply the ministry 170 computers worth $107 525.

It was further alleged that there was an additional 75 computers worth $42 250 and materials for Zimbabwe International Trade Fair valued $185 525.

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