HIGH Court judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze yesterday castigated the Prosecutor-General (PG)’s Office for abusing Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure & Evidence Act, which gives the State the powers to provisionally revoke bail granted by magistrates.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The judge said the State’s application in a matter in which it was seeking further detention of a Pakistan national, was a clear confirmation of the abuse of the law.
On several occasions, the section had been used by the State against several members of opposition political parties, resulting in them languishing in prisons, despite having been granted bail by the Magistrates’ Court.
“The appeal by the State lacks merit and, therefore, it is dismissed. The State, by invoking Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure & Evidence Act was confirming the alleged abuse of that section and I will, therefore, dismiss the appeal,” Justice Mawadze said. The State had sought to keep a Pakistan national in custody despite the fact that she surrendered herself to the police.
According to the evidence presented in court, the respondent in the matter, Rana Mohammed Akhtar, was invited into the country from Pakistan after allegations of theft of trust property to the tune of over $540 000 had been levelled against her by a business partner.
The court heard, Akhtar was arrested at the airport and detained by police.
She appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court where she was granted $500 bail, but the State revoked it on the basis that she was a flight risk.
“Was the fourth respondent (Akhtar) not arrested on her way into the country rather than leaving the country? Why would the State allege she would abscond when, in fact, she came to Zimbabwe on the basis of being wanted?” Justice Mawadze quizzed State representative Sharon Fero. “Do you believe this appeal has merit?” the judge quizzed Fero, who responded by saying the State was not happy with the bail conditions that had been set by the magistrate and wanted them strengthened.
The court then ordered Akhtar to deposit $1 000 and she was released on the conditions that had been set by the magistrate.
Akhtar, who is the director of Steel World (Private) Limited, was arrested following a failed business partnership with the complainant, whose name was not mentioned in court papers. According to State papers, the complainant in the matter is a shareholder and director of Simbi Alloy (Private) Limited, a company that was formed following a business venture between the two parties.