A HARARE man, who is accused of obstructing the course of justice after he allegedly attempted to influence a State witness to withdraw fraud charges against Higher Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa, yesterday castigated the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for alledgedly conducting illegal arrests.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Malvern Chimutashu made the remarks while giving evidence on his application for referral of his matter to the Constitutional Court, saying Zacc had no mandate to arrest, but could only recommend their investigations to the police.
He said his constitutional rights were violated by being informed of the charge he was facing 12 hours after his arrest.
The court heard Chimutashu was arrested at around 9am and was told of his charge at exactly 9pm on the same day.
He further told the court he was denied access to a lawyer of his choice after Zacc officers confiscated his mobile phones.
Chimutashu said Zacc officers arrested him while he was seated in his parked vehicle in the company of three other occupants, as he was reading an affidavit that had been brought to him by other officials from the anti-coruption body.
Chimutashu, who is being represented by Clemence Ngweshiwa, denied the charge, saying Zacc trapped him by bringing a prepared withdrawal affidavit, with the intention of tarnishing his political image and Gandawa’s.
However, prosecutor Michael Reza told the court that Chimutashu’s arrest was carried out above board, as he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers, who were only seconded to Zacc.
Reza also submitted that Chimutashu erred by misquoting a section of the Constitution on which he was relying on his referral application.
The prosecutor urged the court to dismiss Chimutashu’s application, saying he had failed to explain under oath why his case should be referred.
Presiding magistrate, Lizani Ncube, remanded the matter to Thursday for the ruling.
In his application, Chimutashu insisted the voice records, which the State wanted to rely on, should be destroyed, as they were recorded without his consent.
It is the State’s case that sometime between July and September last year, Chimutashu met the key witness, Walter Chasara, and encouraged him to withdraw the charges against Gandawa in exchange for an unspecified amount of money.
The State alleges Chimutashu drafted an affidavit in Chasara’s name 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 he had been coerced into making a report to Zacc.
Chimutashu was arrested at Avondale shopping centre on September 6 last year by police and Zacc investigators, while trying to hand over the alleged affidavit to Chasara for his signature.