Manase returns to cricket

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe Cricket chairperson Wilson Manase has returned to cricket albeit in an unfamiliar position as he fights in suspended ZC board member Enock Ikope’s corner after he was provisionally suspended by ICC on corruption charges.

Manase took over as chairperson after the retirement of long-serving Peter Chingoka in July 2014 but his tenure came to an end in August 2015 when he controversially lost the election to current ZC leader Tavengwa Mukuhlani.

A once bosom buddy with the ICC by virtue of his position as the ZC chairperson now returns as an opposing counsel for the suspended ZC board member.

Ikope who is also chairperson of the Harare Metropolitan Cricket Association was charged by the International Cricket Council on June 11 with three counts of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and provisionally suspended and given 14 days to respond.

These according to ICC were, “Article 2.4.6- failure or refusal, without compelling justification, to cooperate with an investigation being carried out by the ACU in relation to possible corrupt conduct under the code, Article 2.4.7- delaying an investigation being carried out by the ACU in relation to possible corrupt conduct … and obstruction of an investigation being carried out by the ACU in relation to possible corrupt conduct under the code.”

Ikope has, however, pleaded not guilty and Manase’s law firm Manase and Manase through their legal representative Felix Muserere have filed their defence with the ICC.

“Our client denies all the charges levelled against him. Our client is a Zimbabwean citizen and is governed and protected by the laws of Zimbabwe. Section 57 of the Zimbabwean Constitution clearly states in an unequivocal manner that: ‘Every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have (a) their home, premises or property entered without their permission; (b) their person, home, premises or property searched; (c) their possession seized; (d) the privacy of their communications infringed; or (e) their health condition disclosed’,” argued Muserere.

“It is our humble submission that our client acted lawfully in refusing to hand over his private property, his mobile cellphone. It is our client’s assertion that the mobile phone in question is neither a property of ZC nor ICC. In addition, the said mobile phone had more of the owner’s personal, private and national information that had nothing to do with cricket.

“This is also the reason why our client delated his information. He has all rights over his private phone. He can acquire or delete any information in his phone at any given time. That is his constitutional right, and no one has the right to violate or infringe his rights. Therefore, your Anti-Corruption Unit team had no mandate whatsoever to seize our client’s phone without his consent. That is unconstitutional.”

And again quoting the Zimbabwe constitution against the ACU’s Code Article 2.4.6, Muserere said it was not in any way the supreme law of Zimbabwe.

“Further Section 2 of the Zimbabwe Constitution states that; ‘This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency’.

“This provision clearly shows that our client acted constitutionally in refusing to give the ACU personnel his private phone and even in deleting his private and controversial information he merely protected his constitutional rights. Code Article 2.4.6 is not the supreme law of Zimbabwe and it is inconsistent with the Zimbabwean Constitution hence the charges emanating from the said scenario are null and void ab initio,” he added.

“Moreover, your initial communication to our client did not state that our client was under investigation. Had you alerted him in time, he would have sought his legal representation timeously.

“This is also in line with section 70 (1) of the Zimbabwean Constitution which specifically states that ‘Any person accused of an offence has the following rights: (a) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; (b) to be informed promptly of the charge, in sufficient detail to enable them to answer it; (c) to be given adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence; (d) to choose a legal practitioner and, at their own expense, to be represented by that legal practitioner…’

“Further we are also advised that the ACU personnel treated him unconstitutionally as they presumed him guilty before it was proven so. It is our client’s assertion that on the day in question, January 15. 2018, he was harassed and ill-treated as the investigation team refused him his constitutional right to make a phone call.

“This was in contravention with section 52 (a) of the Zimbabwean Constitution which states that ‘Every person has the right bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources’. All these factors amounted to the way our client acted since he was protecting his constitutional rights.”

He concluded by saying that the ICC was working on fabricated charges based on perceptions and not facts.

“It is trite law in Zimbabwe that no authority has rights over any citizen of Zimbabwe and that no one is entitled to search or seize someone’s private property without a lawful court order or any approval by a relevant and competent authority,” he added.

“In any case, we are advised that the ICC is fabricating their charges against our client basing their allegations, charges and arguments on perceptions rather than facts. Our client’s refusal to hand over his mobile phone to them on their initial request, delaying in giving them his cellphone and deletion of some personal information from the phone is not the issue in question.