Government seizes Kasukuwere's house

THE State has seized former Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s Nyanga house after he absconded trial on corruption charges.
The former Zanu PF national political commissar, who is accused of corruptly awarding tenders and parcelling out vast pieces of land to Grace Mugabe’s sister Shuvai Gumbochuma, was issued with a warrant of arrest on January 17 after he did not pitch for trial.

Through a letter, his lawyers Charles Chinyama and Thembinkosi Magwaliba then advised the court that Kasukuwere was absent because he had to make weekly visits to his doctor in South Africa.
On Thursday, the State led by prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga applied for an order seeking to forfeit the $250 000 worth house, which Kasukuwere surrendered to the State together with title deeds, as part of bail conditions.

Yesterday, regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya ruled in favour of the State and granted the order. “Whereupon after hearing arguments, it be and is hereby ordered that immovable property commonly called Sub Division D, Manchester in the district of Umtali, Zimbabwe be forfeited to the State,” Mujaya ruled.

In his submissions, Macharaga argued that there was nothing immobilising Kasukuwere from making weekly visits to the court for his trial. He argued that Kasukuwere failed to appear in court immediately after the High Court dismissed an urgent chamber application seeking review

“What is clear is that the accused person is not detained in any hospital…now is there anything that stops him from appearing in court between the days that he will not be visiting the doctor.”
In the event that the order is granted, Macharaga said the State would dispose of Kasukuwere’s holiday home within 90 days to give him a chance to avail himself and justify his absence.

“…that will make the accused person make an effort to appear in court because I know he is not sick.”
Magwaliba in his objection said Macharaga had applied the wrong law, making his application for the foreclosure of the home “fatally defective.”

“What is evident is that no evidence has been led in terms of the condition of the accused person. “ The application which the court has heard is in terms of section 13 and not section 119 which gives the prosecution power to apply for forfeiture,” Magwaliba argued.
“Section 119 (1) provides that the prosecutor must first give notice, of which none has been given. It requires that the accused person be called three times, then apply for issuance of a warrant of arrest combined with forfeiture which the State should have done on January 17.

“No application can be made on the same facts twice and it is not competent for the court to issue an order which is sought,” Magwaliba said.

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