THE trial of a Harare man charged with obstructing the course of justice after he allegedly attempted to influence a State witness to withdraw fraud charges levelled against Higher Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa failed to commence yesterday, as he challenged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s (Zacc) arresting power.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Malvern Chimutashu, sought to have his matter referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), arguing Zacc had no legal standing to arrest him.
Presiding magistrate, Lazini Ncube immediately stopped the trial and remanded the matter to today to enable Chimutashu to file his ConCourt application.
Chimutashu, who claims Gandawa to be his witness, had earlier said his trial could only commence after Gandiwa had given a warned-and-cautioned statement to the investigating officer. But, the State opposed the application before the magistrate ruled the trial should start.
At that juncture, Chimutashu made a new application for referral of the matter to the ConCourt, saying Zacc does not have arresting powers.
It is the State’s case that sometime between July and September last year, Chimutashu met the key witness, Walter Chasara, and persuaded him to withdraw the charges against Gandawa in exchange for some unspecified amount of money.
Chimutashu allegedly drafted an affidavit in the name of Chasara purporting the latter had made a false report to Zacc.
In the affidavit, Chasara appeared to be distancing himself from being a key State witness, insinuating that he had been coerced into making a report to Zacc.
Chimutashu was arrested at Avondale shopping centre on September 6 by police and Zacc investigators, while trying to hand over the alleged affidavit to Chasara to sign.
Michael Reza is prosecuting.