Harare High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday ruled in favour of the State and ordered an inspection in loco to be conducted in South Africa in the trial of director of Core Mining, Lovemore Kurotwi and former Zimbabwe Mining Development (ZMDC) chief executive chairperson Dominic Mubaiwa.
The two are accused of causing potential prejudice investment loss of $2 billion to the government. The inspection is due to be conducted by the first week of the High Court’s third term in September this year.
The judge said in his view the word “inspection” was clearly explained in the Oxford Dictionary where it meant, “to see, view or observe”, and as such the court would simply visit and observe for itself the places that culminated in the compilation of the due diligence report by the former ZMDC board.
On the question of territorial jurisdiction raised by the defence on conducting trial in a foreign land, the judge said: “The State is inviting the court to go and see and view the places. I do not understand the State to be asking the court to conduct trial in South Africa.
“The purpose of the inspection in loco is for the court to observe and experience evidence that cannot be brought to the court. As the State said, if the mountain cannot go to Mohamed, then Mohamed has to go to the mountain.”
Commenting on the issue of expenses to be met, Justice Bhunu said it was the prerogative of the State.
Chief Law Officer Chris Mutangadura, who was assisted by Public Mpofu, made the application for inspection arguing that the due diligence conducted by former ZMDC board was fictitious and misleading and it culminated in the signing of a joint venture. The State said the reason for the trip would be to establish whether Core Mining had offices and mining operations in South Africa as reported in the due diligence report.
The matter was then rolled over to Tuesday after Advocate Louis Uriri and Mutangadura failed to agree on the way forward regarding continuation of the trial.
Uriri opposed the postponement on the trial arguing that the State could proceed to hear evidence from other witnesses while waiting for the trip. Justice Bhunu then ruled that the determination on the way forward would be made after Kurotwi’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa had made her input on the matter.