Court defers Moyo appeal hearing

HARARE - Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s application challenging the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s arresting powers was yesterday postponed indefinitely.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, leading the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) bench, deferred the case after ruling that Moyo’s application was not properly filed in terms of the Rules of the Court.

In the application, Moyo cited police sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha, Zacc, commissioner-general of police Augustine Chihuri and the (acting) Prosecutor-General Ray Goba, as respondents.

The Con-Court ruling was made after the Prosecutor-General’s lawyer, Thembinkosi Magwaliba, raised a preliminary point, arguing that Moyo’s application had not been bound and paginated in terms of the Rules of the Court.

Moyo’s attorney, Lewis Uriri, conceded but said his instructions were that when the papers were filed, the instructing lawyers were advised by the registrar that it was not a necessity to paginate them.

“We accept that the failure to do so was predicated upon an improperly considered directive of the registrar which ought not to have happened,” he said.

He, however, urged the court to take into consideration the urgency of the matter and its legal importance, adding that the inconvenience did not amount to a prejudice, which Magwaliba opposed.

Uriri later agreed to have the matter postponed.

“By consent, the application is postponed sine die, the applicant (Moyo) is to pay the wasted costs for the hearing of February 8, 2017 in respect of the fourth respondent (Prosecutor-General),” Malaba said.

Moyo filed the application against Zacc after he was briefly detained by the anti-graft body on allegations of siphoning over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).

He, however, said Zacc does not have the power to arrest and detain suspects in terms of the Constitution. Moyo further said that the Prosecutor-General does not in terms of the Constitution have the power to order the police to arrest an individual.

Moyo has denied committing any offence, arguing that the allegations are politically motivated.

He accused Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa of plotting the allegations through Zacc.

Moyo is facing the allegations together with his deputy Godfrey Gandawa, who has also since won Con-Court referral.

In its heads of argument filed with the court, Zacc has admitted that it does not have arresting powers but has police officers seconded to the organisation that have arresting powers, who include Chacha, who was handling Moyo’s case.

“The second respondent (Zacc) has never averred that they have arresting powers. Section 13 of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act spells out the powers of the second respondent.

“It is clear from the Act that it does not expressly confer powers of arrest on the second respondent. In addition, Section 255 of the Constitution confines the second respondent’s powers to receiving complaints, investigating, combating, exposing and directing the commissioner-general to investigate cases of suspected corruption and referring matters to the National Prosecuting Authority,” the organisation said.

Zacc, however, argued that Moyo’s detention was lawful as it was within the parameters of the organisation’s investigating powers, adding that Chacha has arresting powers as a police officer.

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