Mandiwanzira Acquittal Angers Govt
The State is seeking to petition the High Court for a rescission of the judgment acquitting former minister Supa Mandiwanzira of criminal abuse of office charges that was delivered on Wednesday.
The decision was granted in default after all the listed respondents — trial magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo, Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi and the National Prosecuting Authority — failed to make representations on the matter.
Mandiwanzira was facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly awarded a US$218 million auditing contract to South African-based Megawatt Energy.
The deal allegedly prejudiced NetOne of $5 million.
Anti-Corruption Special Unit director Mr Tabani Mpofu last night confirmed to The Herald they were in the process of filing an application for rescission of decision, which he claimed was erroneous.
“We are going to court to seek a rescission of the default judgment granted against us,” he said.
“It was erroneously granted because the Prosecutor-General’s Office was not served with the notice of set-down. In fact, the notice was served on the Attorney-General’s Office.”
Mandiwanzira approached the higher court challenging the trial court’s decision dismissing his application excepting to the charges.
Justice Nicholas Mathonsi granted a default judgment against the respondents in the matter that had been brought to court on the basis that it was unopposed.
“The application for review is hereby granted. The judgment of the first respondent dated 15th February, 2019 be and is hereby set aside and substituted with an order that count one of the charges brought against the applicant on the 7th of December, 2018 is hereby quashed,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.
Documents seen by The Herald, showed that none of the respondents were served with papers to make submissions.
The court papers show that Mandiwanzira’s lawyers served the Attorney-General’s Office although he was not part of the proceedings. Mandiwanzira sued the trial magistrate after he threw out his application for exception of the criminal charges.
He ruled that the former minister has a case to answer and should be put to his defence. Commenting on Mandiwanzira second charge in which he is accused of appointing his personal assistant to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) board, Mr Mpofu insisted the prosecution has a strong case against him.
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