Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) bid seeking to thwart his prosecution over alleged abuse of $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef), yesterday fell by the wayside after the apex court dismissed his application.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The court, led by Senior Judge of Appeal, Elizabeth Gwaunza, said Gandawa’s application was not properly before the court since the magistrate, who referred the matter, had no powers to assume constitutional jurisdiction.
“All the questions that have been referred to this court were already answered by the magistrate. We cannot grant the applicant’s (Gandawa) prayer because the magistrate has already made a finding that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) had no powers to arrest the applicant, that the Prosecutor-General (PG) had no authority to direct the Commissioner-General of Police to arrest the applicant and that the search warrant issued against the applicant was invalid,” Justice Gwaunza said.
“The matter before us is not that the magistrate should have made a definitive order, but the magistrate made referral of specific issues which she had already answered … What’s stopping the applicant to go back (to the magistrate) and ask her to acquit him since she already declared his arrest as unlawful?” the judge queried, as her sentiments were echoed by other judges on the same bench.
“This matter should not have been referred to this court, it is improperly before this court and accordingly it is, hereby, dismissed with no order as to costs.”
Gandawa’s application of dismissal followed an application by senior law officer, Edmore Makoto, who urged the court to dismiss the matter, arguing it was not properly before the court since there were no matters to be decided by the ConCourt.
Gandawa’s lawyer, Eric Matinenga, attempted to convince the court to proceed, arguing his client was properly before the court, although the magistrate had proceeded to make a definitive ruling on issues brought before her, but his submissions failed to find favour with the whole bench.
Gandawa, who is being charged with criminal abuse of office, fraud, corruptly concealing a personal interest from principal and obstructing the course of justice, had questioned Zacc’s arresting powers.