Senior army officer fears unfair trial over fraud charges

ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) Captain John Mambewu says he wants his $37 000 fraud case tried at the High Court instead of being heard at a court martial where he fears receiving unfair trial.

CHARLES LAITON
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

This was revealed in court papers under case number HC 2007/14, in which Mambewu cited Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, ZNA Commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda and ZNA’s judge advocate as respondents.

Mambewu, who is the officer commanding database administration at ZNA’s Information Technology Directorate, is accused of defrauding the army of $37 406 in an alleged salary scam.

Through his lawyers Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers, Mambewu, who is also a war veteran and has been in the army for 36 years, claims he would not receive a fair trial if the matter is conducted by the defence forces.

“I later learnt that the respondents intend to charge me on the allegations that I unlawfully deducted money from all employees’ salaries in the Zimbabwe National Army including the respondents and all personnel who constitute the court martial,” Mambewu said in an affidavit attached to the application.

“I am advised, which advice I accept that in terms of section 69 of the Constitution, I am entitled to a fair, speedy and public hearing by an independent and impartial court, tribunal or any forum established law, which I am definite that I will not find in casu (in this case).

“. . . I have no doubt in my mind that if the court martial proceeds there are no ways I would receive a fair trial and clearly this matter raises serious conflict of interest. I will definitely be condemned and my fears are genuine.”

According to the court papers, Mambewu claims he was arrested on February 14 and detained at Harare Remand Prison without charge.

He was only released after filing an urgent chamber application under case number HC 1807/14 which was granted in his favour and released on March 7.

However, Mambewu argues the respondents did not comply with the court ruling, prompting him to lodge a second urgent chamber application (HC 2007/14) to compel the army to comply with the initial court ruling.

Mambewu further said upon his release from custody, the respondents rushed him to the court martial with the intention of remanding him in custody.

“It took my lawyers’ swift reaction to rush and block the respondents’ contemptuous behaviour . . . This did not please the respondents who actually promised to deal with me effectively. I have no doubt that my life will be in danger especially after the respondents threatened me even before I am put to trial,” he said.

Mambewu said his trial was pre-determined but said he had no problem being tried by any other court established by law other than the court martial which is “constituted and composed by the respondents who are also complainants in the same matter”.

He wants the High Court to order the ZNA to engage the Judicial Service Commission to constitute a court which shall be regarded as a court martial and proceed in terms of the Defence Act.

According to the court papers, the allegations against Mambewu are that, in December last year he manipulated the ZNA’s salary schedule and unlawfully deducted US$2 from each of the 6 380 members who access their salaries through Central African Building Society (CABS).

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27 Comments

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  2. Mambewu wakaisepi mari iwe

  3. 36yrs in the ZNA! Chienda kupension mudhara.

  4. Tjinyunyibabili

    You are a brave man….. there is a bigger guy akadla mari wena! Scapegoat! They will smear you to please the soldiers!

  5. Uri musoja iwe ita zvechisoja! Is there no provision under the uniform code of justice that provides for a armed forces from another country with say SA or Zambia to constitute the court martial? He does have a point however that kana akavabira mari hazviite kuti vamutonge

  6. Charles please learn the rand structure of the ZNA Capt is not a senior officer

  7. FactualAnalytics

    Mr Editor.How does 2 x $6380 equal $37308. Is This Newsday mathematics or Army (ZNA) mathematics?

    1. This actually a good question. This is why these papers end up getting sued, they just rush to print with undercooked “facts”. $2 by 6380 accounts gives a total of $12760, so where is the $37308 coming from? They may want to blame ZNA mathematics(which is also always shady), but why not first of all research it, so that they report figures that make sense, or make it clear in the article that the mathematics from ZNA dont make sense.

      This country is a joke

      1. It could true FactsOnly coz it could be a 3 months transaction $12760 by 3= 38280 and he could have not deducted the $2 for other members on the 3rd month amounting to $972

        1. KB,

          I am trying very hard in restraining myself from attacking you or your intellect. Anyways, since you read the “story” and misunderstood it, i will try to spell out to you what the story says, this time by splitting up the facts as they are spelt in the story:

          – if you read the last paragraph, you will see that he is alleged to have carried out the trick in December 2013, and no other month

          – He was arrested on 14 Feb, so if we were to try and stretch the fact we have in the story, he could have only done it it December and january and not February: Yes?

  8. 36years in the ZDF I thought we are only 34 years old since we attained sovereignty.

  9. Ko chi war vet chabva kupi apa! Zim 34 yrs old soldier in the army for 36 yrs akomana itai serious

  10. Nyorai zvine musoro. War vet inebasa rei? Figures $2 nevanhu hazvienderani. Surely I think the writer is too junior who lacks editors too. Kuvata pabasa uku

  11. tongwa nemartial mudhara hanty ndimi masoja acho sei ukuda kutongwa nevanhu? haiite

  12. if the army perceives their own court as unfair, why estabilsh it then?

  13. Tongerwa kwenyu kumasoja. Majaira kubira vanhu nepfuti. Kana uripachokwadi vaudze chokwadi chako.

  14. Court martial is fair code.urikuziva nyaya yako.

  15. Court martial is fair Cde.Pindai mufryng pan

  16. i respect you,wakapenga wena iwewe,

    ur only mistake was because of the large numbers of people you defrauded machances ekubatwa where high

    u shud have done it in gradual increases

  17. Nhai cde mangamapindwa nei.Kubira varombo vakadai.Ndiyo teamwork here iyoyo.
    Manyadzisa zvikuru, face the music, wenga.

  18. The guy makes a sensible argument, one cannot be a judge in his own cause. nemo judex in sua causa

  19. Capetown KAPPA

    36yrs to steal government Moola $$$$$$ where is it Crook

  20. Hes right. Most Zimbos are not aware that legally you can refuse to have your case be heard by a certain court or judge if you feel the judge has interest in the matter.

  21. tine mbavha hombe dzema dimond proceeds dzirikuverenga nyaya iyi dziri free ana mpofu nevamwe ana chombo varikutomuseka kuti kufira mafufu se gonzo ivo vachiba pakuru vasingasungwi muregereyi munhu uyu haana mhaka tangai vakuru mhani.

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  22. he has no case to answer this is why the army is interested in trying him to smir him

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