HomeLocal NewsMagistrate stands down from Mtandah case

Magistrate stands down from Mtandah case

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The magistrate handling the case of CAPS Holdings boss Fredrick Charles Mtandah on Monday recused himself from the matter, saying the accusations traded between the State and the defence over the case had interfered with the court proceedings.

“Tempers have flared and the bench feathers ruffled . . . I have come to the conclusion that it is fair and prudent that I recuse myself and indeed I am recusing myself and the matter is remanded to March 6.

“I am sure someone independent will be appointed to deal with the matter for a fair and impartial hearing,” said magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini.

“I will not cling to a matter where more questions are raised than answers and justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done,” he said.

“Unquestionable conduct and non-discriminatory judgments should inspire confidence and trust of the litigants. I am bound to preside over the case impartially without fear or favour and to decide cases in accordance with the law.”

The Mtandah saga took a new twist after it emerged he wrote to the Attorney-General(AG)’s Office, raising concerns over the manner in which his case had been handled by the courts.

His lawyer, Linda Chipato, threatened to make an application to the Supreme Court for violation of Mtandah’s rights, miscarriage of justice, abuse of office and claim of damages against all parties concerned, should fears raised by her client come to fruition.

In a letter dated February 15, 2012 and addressed to the AG’s Criminal Division, Mtandah also said he feared for his life, following alleged death threats from undisclosed sources.

Chipato wrote: “On two other related matters, it is our understanding from our client that he received information of a plot to kill him.

We understand that our client brought this to the attention of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

We would be grateful if you would advise whether anything has since been done in terms of investigation of this matter and bringing the culprits to account.”

During the previous hearing, Mtandah and his co-accused, CAPS Pharmaceuticals general manager Justice Majaka, made an application for refusal of further remand before Jarabini, who was set to make a determination on the matter.

Commenting on the application, Chipato wrote: “It has also been brought to our client’s attention that a ruling may have already been prepared in anticipation of the next hearing date.

“Wherein the application for (refusal of) further remand shall be dismissed and our client found guilty of breaching bail conditions, with him being sentenced to one-and-half year in custody, with six months being suspended on the usual conditions.”

Before his ruling, Jarabini said administration of justice involved public respect and equal justice for all and that the justice system would not function unless done professionally.

Mtandah and Majaka were arrested in November last year over an alleged $25 million fraud case.

The State alleges they applied for deregistration of 50 drug formulas from CAPS Holdings and subsequently registered them under CAPS International, an allegation they denied.

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