A High Court judge has reserved judgment in a case in which African Consolidated Resources (ACR) has applied to have criminal proceedings against it by the lower court quashed.
ACR argued they could not be prosecuted at the High Court because they had a civil case on the same issue pending at the Supreme Court, making the High Court hearing sub judice.
The diamond mining entity was indicted on November 5, 2010 on a count of fraud or alternatively possessing precious stones without a licence or permit in contravention of section 3 of the Precious Stones Trade Act.
ACR’s lawyer Jonathan Samkange said his client would wait for the outcome of the Supreme Court determination, hence an application to quash the High Court indictment.
“In other words, until the Supreme Court has made a determination of the appeal, the state should not be allowed to proceed with the prosecution of the accused and the charges against it should be quashed,” he said.
But chief law officer Chris Mutangadura, representing the state, argued that the court should go ahead with the case before it as the two cases were different.
“I urge the court to refuse to quash these proceedings as suggested by my learned friend (Samkange) because the two cases, one civil and another criminal, do not go hand in hand,” he said,
Mutangadura argued that ACR purported that they were registered when they were not hence they allegedly acquired the claims fraudulently.
“There were no registers submitted to the Mines ministry, which means prior to their claim, they committed fraud. Civil judgment does not have anything to do with this matter,” added Mutangadura.
However Samkange insisted that the criminal case could not go ahead because of the civil case.
After hearing submissions, Justice Joseph Musakwa said he would go through the submissions and advise on the ruling.
“Court’s ruling to be advised in due course,” Justice Musakwa said.