POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has been ordered to immediately release 22 trucks of maize belonging to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) which were impounded at Chirundu border post in July.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The order was issued by High Court judge Justice David Mangota on Wednesday after the transporters, Holbud Limited J and J Transport, approached the courts seeking to compel Chihuri to release the maize which was now at the mercy of baboons and monkeys.
Holbud Limited general manager Roopak Bhadra said he was at loss as to why the police were reluctant to release the trucks even though all the documents pertaining to the importation of the maize by GMB from Zambia had been made available to them.
In his order, Justice Mangota said: “The unconditional release of the impounded 22 30-tonne trucks with maize be and is hereby confirmed. The respondents (Chihuri and Senior Assistant Commissioner Mrs Mushaurwa, Mashonaland West) be and are hereby ordered to pay demurrage charges in the sum of $90 300 as at August 9, 2017 of the impounded trucks and maize.”
The court also ordered Chihuri and Mushaurwa to pay legal costs on an attorney and client scale, one paying the other to be absolved. In his founding affidavit, Bhadra said his company entered into an agreement with GMB and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for the importation of maize.
Bhadra was surprised on July 26, when he received information that police had impounded the maize together with the trucks.
“I later received a report to the effect that the maize was being impounded because of a statement made by the Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made. On that same afternoon, I was given telephone numbers of the second respondent (Mushaurwa), who advised me that they had received a radio from the Police General Headquarters to the effect that the maize should be impounded,” Bhadra said.
“She advised me that she was trying to identify the author of the radio and that in the interim period, she wanted all the documentation relating to the importation of the maize. The following day all the relevant documents were provided to the second respondent.”
Bhadra said on July 28 he made a further follow-up and was assured that the maize would be released the following day, but that never happened.