IN a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court yesterday, former Telecel board member Jane Mutasa is set to face prosecution by the mobile network provider over an airtime scam involving $1,7 million after the court ordered the Prosecutor-General’s (PG) Office to issue Telecel with a certificate, within five days, to prosecute Mutasa.
BY CHARLES LAITON
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
According to a unanimous decision by judges of appeal; Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Paddington Garwe, any private corporation was entitled to institute private prosecution against its suspected criminals in accordance with the law.
“A private corporation is entitled to institute private prosecution and the application by appellant succeeds . . . the application for (private prosecution) certificate succeeds,” read the operative part of the judgment which was delivered by Justice Bharat Patel.
The office of the PG was ordered to pay the costs.
Mutasa, who is a shareholder with the same company, was arrested sometime in 2010 alongside Telecel’s commercial director, Naquib Omar over the airtime scam, but their trial failed to materialise following the refusal by the Attorney-General’s (AG) Office to prosecute the pair.
After the AG’s refusal to prosecute Mutasa, Telecel, through its lawyer Isaiah Mureriwa, appealed to the High Court and applied for a certificate to privately prosecute Mutasa, but the AG opposed the application and the court ruled in his favour.
Telecel then approached the Supreme Court on appeal and the bench, comprising Justices, Ziyambi, Garwe and Patel presided over the matter that was argued by the then AG’s representative Chris Mutangadura and Mureriwa.
Allegations against Mutasa and Omar are that on July 15, 2009 the then Telecel managing director Rex Chibesa ordered all workers to stop selling lines and airtime using manual invoices.
Between August 26 and October 21, 2009, Mutasa is alleged to have instructed Omar to request stock from Telecel stores on behalf of her personal firm Oxygon Investments.
It is the State’s case that Omar then instructed his junior, regional sales manager Charles Mapurisa, to write the manual invoice for 30 000 seed packs (lines) valued at $300 000 and airtime cards worth $450 000.
Omar allegedly authorised the invoices before they were presented to Telecel stores office for collection.
Telecel later engaged auditors who then managed to quantify the variance to $1,7 million of which $750 000 was traced to seed packs and airtime recharge cards purportedly sold to Oxygon Investments.