Machaya freedom bid flops

Jason Machaya


BULAWAYO regional magistrate, Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze on Tuesday dismissed an application seeking permanent stay of prosecution submitted by former Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya, Mashonaland West provincial administrator, Cecilia Chitiyo and six other government officials who are facing charges of criminal abuse of office.

In the application, the accused argued that the preferred charges against them infringed on their constitutional rights to a fair trial.

Machaya and his co-accused are being prosecuted for offences alleged to have been committed between 2004 and 2015, but were only brought before the courts in February last year.

In dismissing the application, Msipa-Marondedze ruled that prior to 2018 no charges had been raised against the accused hence there was no violation of their fundamental rights.

She said the court was satisfied that there was a constitutional question to be referred to the Constitutional Court for determination.

“The application is frivolous and vexatious and it has no merit and is done to delay trial, hence this application is hereby dismissed,” she ruled.

But the defence team, led by Alec Muchadehama, submitted that the court’s reason to dismiss the application was “grossly unreasonable” and tantamount to bias.

Muchadehama said only the Constitutional Court could determine whether the period (2004-2015) prior to the arrest of the accused could not be said to be prejudicial to them (accused) to have a fair trial.

He made an application before Msipa-Marondedze for postponement of the matter to enable the defence team to make an application by tomorrow at the High Court for review of the decision to dismiss the permanent stay of prosecution application.

Muchadehama said the defence team would make an urgent chamber application at the High Court for the stay of proceedings in the matter.

But the prosecution led by Andrew Kumire submitted that it was against the defence team’s decision to have the matter temporarily deferred.

Msipa-Marondedze postponed the matter to March 14 to allow the defence team to file its applications at the High Court.

She set April 15 as the provisional trial date pending outcome of both applications for stay of proceedings and appeal against her dismissal of the permanent stay of prosecution sought by the accused.