Buyanga’s property manager trial takes new twist

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Business mogul Frank Buyanga’s property manager, who is on trial for perjury after claiming that he bought a property for $35 000 from his boss, has petitioned the High Court seeking a review of the trial proceedings, accusing the presiding magistrate of attempting to bolster the State’s case by adopting a wrong procedure.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Through his lawyers, Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners, Bishop Jeche, who is also facing a charge of money laundering, filed an application for review at the High Court on October 16 and the matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

According to court papers, Jeche’s application came about after regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya allegedly allowed the State to conduct fresh investigations in the middle of the trial by calling new witnesses.

In his founding affidavit, Jeche said Mujaya overruled his objection when he sought to challenge the State’s intention to call three more witnesses despite the latter not having had their statements recorded and availed to him before he submitted his defence outline.

“This fact is even conceded by the first respondent (Mujaya), which directs that the State serves me with the full statements of the three new witnesses. When the defence outline was prepared on my instructions, it was on the basis of what was presented to me before trial. I gave my legal practitioners specific instructions relating to how to tackle the evidence of witnesses whose statements had been delivered to me. The discovered evidence did not include the statements of the three new witnesses,” he said.

Jeche further argues that the recording of new witness statements midway through the trial would give rise to collusion between the outstanding witnesses and those that have already been excused by the State, resulting in evidence being compromised to his detriment.

“It is common cause that I have already cross-examined two critical witnesses without the benefit of the new witnesses’ statements. I do not have the authority to recall them, neither am I in a position to amend my defence outline. This would result in an unfair trial as the first respondent had deliberately tilted the trial in favour of the State,” he said.