Harare lawyer Charles Chinyama, representing controversial businessman Temba Mliswa and his alleged accomplices in a case in which they stand accused of attempting to wrest a vehicle accessory company from Paul Westwood, on Thursday objected to the state’s intention to call lawyers to testify against their former clients.
The state intends to call Archford Rutanhira from Scanlen and Holderness and Gerald Mlotshwa from GN Mlotshwa and Company to give evidence against Mliswa and his co-accused in yet unclear circumstances.
Prosecutor Godwin Nyasha made an application before regional magistrate Never Katiyo to lift the blanket of privilege imposed on lawyers restricting them from testifying against their former clients.
This application is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, and both Nyasha and Chinyama relied on case studies from South Africa and Australia in their efforts to convince the court to rule in their favour.
Nyasha argued Rutanhira and Mlotshwa were never consulted by Mliswa and his co-accused before the alleged offence was committed.
However, Chinyama said: “According to the law, no legal practitioner duly qualified to practice in any court whether within Zimbabwe or elsewhere, shall be competent to give evidence against any person by whom he has been professionally employed or consulted, without the consent of that person.”
Ruling is expected on February 18.
Mliswa and his co-accused Hammarskjold Banda, Brendaly Banda, Alfred Mwatiwamba, Martin Mutasa and George Marere are denying the allegations.