ZIMBABWE Ex-Combatants (Zexcom) Foundation Investment Fund’s judicial manager Barbra Lunga, accused of stealing property and cash worth over Z$15,3 million from the war veterans’ company, has filed an application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court (Concourt) citing violations of her rights. BY SILAS NKALA
Lunga (50), represented by Welshman Ncube, filed the application before Bulawayo regional court magistrate Crispen Mberewere.
She stated that her prosecution five years and 10 months after she was first summoned to the police and made to sign a warned and cautioned statement ,was a violation of her constitutional right to a fair and public trial within a reasonable time as enshrined in section 69 (1) of the constitution.
The section states that every person accused of any offence has the right to a fair public trial within a reasonable time before an independent and impartial court.
“To try to accuse her almost six years after she was first summoned to respond to the charge is certainly not in a reasonable time, put differently a delay of almost six years in bringing the accused to trial is an inordinate and unreasonable delay,” submitted Ncube.
“Thus there has been a failure to try her within a reasonable time in violation of her constitutional rights.
It is the accused’s contention that the delay of almost six years in bringing her to trial is a violation of her constitutional right to a speedy trial or to a trial within a reasonable time and consequently the accused request that the matter be referred to the Constitutional Court.”
Mberewere remanded the matter to May 29 for a ruling in the application for leave to appeal to ConCourt.
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Lunga is the managing director of Impact Trust Executors which was in 2001 mandated to manage Zexcom businesses after the company was placed under judicial management following serious fights among members.
The complainant in the matter is Zexcom Foundation Investment Fund (Pvt) Ltd represented by Patrick Ndlovu, who is the company secretary.
Lunga is alleged to have disposed of the company assets without authority of the Master of the High Court as required by the Companies Act Chapter 24:03. Most of the assets were allegedly sold clandestinely.
She, in the company of one late Mukarati and Mboko allegedly approached Prompt Bureau de Change owned by Zexcom and collected Z$644, which she later converted to her own use.
In 2001, Lunga is alleged to have assigned Jokonia Ndlovu, Patrick Ndlovu and Njabulo Dube to go to Nkayi on Zexcom Foundation’s business. She allegedly gave them her personal vehicle, a Toyota Cressida, to use to travel to Nkayi.
The three were attacked by war veterans who were not happy about the way Zexcom funds were being managed.
It is the State case that the three sped away, but when they reached Ngwigwisi River, another group of war veterans who had laid an ambush shot at them with a .303 rifle resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle and veering off the road.
The vehicle was extensively damaged and the crew sustained serious injuries.
Lunga allegedly demanded compensation of Z$1,8 million from Zexcom and at the same time demanded the same amount from Jupiter Insurance Company where her vehicle was insured.
Lunga allegedly had no right to demand compensation from Zexcom and that resulted in Zexcom suffering a prejudice of Z$1,8 million.
In 2001, Lunga is alleged to have, by private treaty, sold a Zexcom eight-tonne truck to a former deputy minister Zenzo Nsimbi for Z$12 million.
She was allegedly paid part of the money which amounted to P9 000 and the balance in Zimbabwean dollars, which she converted to her own use. In 2003, Lunga is alleged to have removed a five-piece floral lounge suite, computer, photocopying machine, 12 diesel engines and other goods from Clicks in Harare.
She allegedly stole one diesel engine and the five-piece lounge suite both worth Z$1,5 million and took them to her Filabusi rural home. The total prejudice amounted to Z$15 300 644.