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Tsvangirai drivers case in limbo

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The High Court is yet to set a trial date for two of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s official drivers accused of driving vehicles fitted with flashing beacons, a year after their arrest at Beitbridge Border Post en-route from South Africa.

Clifford Sanyika and Joshua Mhuriyengwe were arrested in February last year and charged with contravening section 29 (1)(10) or alternatively section 29(3) of Statutory Instrument 154 of 2010 for allegedly driving two vehicles fitted with blue beacons, normally a preserve for police vehicles only.

Both Sanyika and Mhuriyengwe have denied the charge insisting the alleged beacons were not mounted on the vehicles.

The pair’s lawyer, Chris Mhike, told NewsDay last week that the delays had inconvenienced his clients.

“We filedan application for review last year in May and it was opposed by the Attorney-General’s Office,” Mhike said.

“We filed answering affidavits and since then we have been waiting for the matter to be set down for hearing.

“However, we will be going back to Beitbridge Magistrates Court on April 26 for routine remand.”
In April last year, the pair, through their lawyer, submitted an application of exception before Beitbridge magistrate Auxillia Chiwumburu challenging the charges, but the court dismissed the application.

On May 26 last year, Mhike filed an application for review at the High Court challenging Chiwumburu’s ruling and the matter is still pending.

In the application, Mhike said the decision by the magistrate to dismiss the pair’s application for exception to the charges was grossly unreasonable, irregular and not legally permeable.

“Secondly, the section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which the magistrate cited in her ruling of April 14 is inapplicable to the drivers’ case, that resulted in gross procedural irregularities that need to be reviewed by the High Court,” argued Mhike.

He said both statutes cited by the state in the warned and cautioned statement and charge sheet were not current law and relevant at the time.

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