BY CHARLES LAITON
THE High Court has ordered the trial of Intratrek Zimbabwe boss, Wicknell Chivayo and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) former board chair Stanley Nyasha Kazhanje, to proceed before a Harare magistrate.
The court also ordered the duo to plead to allegations of exchanging US$10 000 bribery money which was meant to influence the outcome of Intratrek’s application for the Gwanda solar project tender.
The State alleges that Chivayo paid Kazhanje a US$ 10 00 bribe which resulted in his company being awarded the US$5 million solar project.
The ruling was made yesterday by Justices Benjamin Chikowero and Pisirayi Kwenda after Chivayo and Kazhanje had approached the court on review following a dismissal of an exception application by magistrate Lazini Ncube.
In the application, Chivayo and Kazhanje had argued that the charge sheet, as presented by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), did not disclose an offence and as such they were entitled to an acquittal and not to be prosecuted.
“….Section 180 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act lists nine pleas that can be pleaded to a charge. The usual ones are guilty or not guilty. But section 180 (2) (c) provides that a person can plead that he or she has already been convicted with offence with which he is charged,” the judges said.
“It is not necessary that I discuss whether that plea is available to the third applicant (Stanley Nyasha Kazhanje). What is important is that section 186 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act provides that issues raised by a plea (except that of guilty or a plea to the jurisdiction of the court) shall be tried. The third applicant should therefore plead to the charge. The matter should be tried.”
The judges added: “Further, whether there was a splitting of charges placing the third applicant in danger of a duplication of convictions on the same evidence is an issue which we cannot consider at this stage. If he is convicted, his remedy may be to raise that as one of his grounds of appeal.
In the dismissed application, Intratrek, Chivayo and Kazhanje were cited as applicants, while Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi and magistrate Ncube were cited as respondents.