‘PM staffer arrested in a civil manner’

THE manner in which the research director in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office, Thabani Mpofu, was arrested did not violate his constitutional rights, the State said yesterday.

Report by Phillip Chidavaenzi

Prosecutor Michael Reza told the court before Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe that Mpofu’s application for referral to the Supreme Court was, therefore, frivolous and vexatious.

Mpofu is on trial together with Mehluli Tshuma, Felix Matsinde and Warship Dumba for allegedly breaching the Official Secrets Act, possessing articles for criminal use and impersonating public officials.

Reza said Mpofu’s rights were not violated, with the exception of his right to freedom, but that was expected every time a lawful arrest was made.

Mpofu admitted during cross–examination that he was not assaulted and the police officers who arrested him were civil.

He, however, reiterated that he wanted the trial to be heard before an independent legal practitioner as the prosecuting authority, the Attorney General’s Office, was corrupt. Mpofu said he was confident that the Supreme Court would rule in his favour.

Reza told the court that Mpofu was brought to court within the stipulated time and applied for bail, which was denied, but later granted by the High Court after 11 days.

Mpofu’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, objected to Reza’s line of questioning on case law arguing that his client was in court as a witness and not a lawyer.
The trial continues on July 13.

Meanwhile, one of the State witnesses employed in the Prime Minister’s Office, Zororai Mudariki, was issued with a second warrant of arrest after failing to turn up at court.