HARARE – The Supreme Court will on Friday hear an appeal by Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi against the acquittal of exiled former local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere was facing four counts of criminal abuse of office relating to housing stands allegedly given to former first lady Grace Mugabe’s sister by the ministry
The former minister, who now lives in South Africa after leaving the country while proceedings were underway at the Magistrates Court, was acquitted by the High Court in August.
In a separate ruling, the High Court ordered prosecutors to release title deeds for a holiday home in Vumba that Kasukuwere had tendered as surety. Kasukuwere’s lawyers last week asked a court to find the Prosecutor General in contempt for refusing to release the title deeds.
In the appeal against Kasukuwere’s acquittal, Hodzi argues that Justice Tawanda Chitapi of the Harare High Court should not have entertained an appeal by a fugitive.
Justice Chitapi gave a strongly-worded judgement while acquitting Kasukuwere as he agreed with the politician’s lawyers that the charges filed by prosecutors disclosed no offence.
“The ruling by the trial magistrate (Hosea Mujaya) is so outrageous in its defiance of logic that no reasonable magistrate applying his mind to the exception would have arrived at such a decision,” Justice Chitapi ruled.
“The first respondent simply did not consider the exception at all… he openly confessed he was conducting the proceedings under pressure from certain persons. He was therefore not independent and impartial as his duties required him to be.”
Kasukuwere fled the country in November 2017 after the military staged a coup in a conspiracy with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who later became president.
He was arrested upon his return to the country and charged with several criminal offences.
Kasukuwere successfully applied for the temporary release of his passport saying he wanted to seek medical attention for a heart ailment in South Africa.
He was supposed to return the passport on January 17 this year but he never returned, his lawyers telling a court that he had been detained for further medical attention.
This prompted prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga of the special anti-corruption unit to apply for forfeiture of US$200,000 Vumba property, an application which was granted by Mujaya.
Police have tried to use Interpol to have Kasukuwere arrested and returned to the country, but the international police organisation turned down the request on the basis that Kasukuwere was a political prisoner.
Source: Zim Live