By Desmond Chingarande
Prominent land developer Felix Munyaradzi who was accused of fraud in a residential stand sale was acquitted by the High Court.
Munyaradzi was arrested by Special Anti Corruption Unit (Sacu) after the complainant police commissioner Erasmus Makodza reported him but after investigations the presidential special team cleared him of any wrongdoing resulting in them withdrawing the matter.
However after Sacu withdrawn the matter, National Prosecuting Authority took over the case in a suspicious act of instructions and ignored the withdrawal consent by Sacu prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga.
Aggrieved by the resuscitation of the case Munyaradzi filed an application for exception to the charges while at the same time challenging the revocation of withdrawal consent by magistrate Taurai Manuwere at the High Court.
Manuwere again dismissed his application for exception.
The High Court judge justice Tawanda Chitapi sitting with Bhachi-Mzawazi ruled that Manuwere’s decision to revoke the consent raises suspicion and his decision is hereby set aside.
“It is ordered that the decision of the 1″ respondent (Manuwere) dated 4 February, 2022 to endorse the withdrawal by the 2 respondent of its consent to the exception filed by the applicant is set aside and by consent the following order is made, The exception to the charges is upheld and the charges are quashed.” The judges ruled.
The case invoked drama in court when the state prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti admitted that he was acting under instruction to revoke the withdrawal consent.
Mutsokoti said the consent affidavit by Macharaga was erroneously issued saying the state has power to revoke its earlier decision since there are new developments made in the matter.
This was after Macharaga had submitted a withdrawal consent affidavit before magistrate Manuwere saying there were no evidence in the matter.
The matter was then set at 2 pm for magistrate’s decision on the withdrawal but at 2pm Magistrate Manuwere did not come and was replaced by magistrate Stanford Mambanje who said Manuwere had developed an illness and he postponed the matter to another day1 for the decision.
However, Munyaradzi’s lawyer Charles Warara opposed the revocation of the consent affidavit saying there is no law stopping the matters determination by the magistrate saying this was akin to direct and give instructions to the Judiciary.
Munyaradzi was arrested at the heat of prominent people’s arrest over land issues and some of his cases were quashed by the High Court and his arrest were seen as a vindictive arrest by Police Commissioner Makodza.
Munyaradzi in his affidavit to the High Court he said Makodza was accusing him of being behind his arrest while in actual fact he do not know anything.
“I met Makodza in 2001 and they regularly come to my office. Sometime during these years Makodza phoned me saying he wanted to buy a residential stand and I asked him to come to the office and I gave him. He came again saying he is struggling to get a loan from the bank and wanted me to provide confirmation documents that he owned the stand. He again went to the bank with the papers but came back to me saying the bank will delay provide him with the loan and asked me to help him.
“We then entered into an agreement that I will provide him with finance to develop the area and that he will give us the contract to service the area. Everything was done by our lawyers and when we went to the ground to check the area we found out that Makodza has engaged another contractor without cancelling our contract,” Munyaradzi told court.
Munyaradzi said he paid US$96 000 for Makodza’s stand after the ministry of land threatened to repossess the land due to none payment. He further said he paid US$2, 7 million land serviced and signed the agreement before our lawyers but was surprised after he engaged another contractor.
He said he was surprised after Makodza linked him to his arrest as he only read it in the newspaper.