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Lawyers challenge court in Trauma Center saga

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LAWYERS representing South African businessman Jeremy Sanford in a $5 million fraud case involving a local private hospital, have filed a High Court application seeking a review of their client’s warrant of arrest, which they claim was erroneously issued.

BY OUR SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Harare regional magistrate Clever Tsikwa last week issued a warrant of arrest for Sanford after the latter failed to appear in court for trial in a case where he is alleged to have defrauded Trauma Centre Hospital in Harare.

In her application filed on Tuesday, lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa cited Tsikwa and the Attorney-General’s Office as the first and second respondents, respectively.

Mtetwa argued Tsikwa committed an irregularity, erred and misdirected himself when he failed to consider and properly take into account that there was no evidence to suggest Sanford received the summons to appear in court.

Mtetwa said Tsikwa also failed to consider and take into account the fact that a section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act he “purportedly” relied on, required that proof of service be advanced by “testimony on oath”.

She further argued Tsikwa erred and misdirected himself when he accepted prosecutor Michael Reza’s “untested submission” from the bar that the summons had been handed over to Sanford’s gardener, as that constituted inadmissible hearsay which could not be termed “testimony on oath”.

Sanford himself submitted his founding affidavit dated November 20 2012 and signed in South Africa saying: “I confirm that having been removed from remand, legal advice I received at the time was that I was free to take up a posting within the group I work for outside Zimbabwe and I left on February 3 2012 . . . I proceeded to Liberia where I am currently based although I travel to South Africa regularly, as that is where my wife resides with our son.”

Sanford, Peter Annesley, Mavis Mushonga and Paul Stevenson were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zimbabwe between December last year and February this year and are expected to stand trial on January 7 next year.

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