Police boss dragged into messy court case

Court hammer

HARARE businessman Chemist Siziba has reached out to Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga over the alleged destruction of a docket in a criminal case involving business executives, Paul Rink Peacy, Craig John William Danckwerts, Ray Kaukonde and Samson Edmare.

Siziba claims the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and acting Prosecutor General (PG) Nelson Mutsonziwa have been frustrating the case hence the latest bid for private prosecution.

The businessman is accusing the NPA and Mutsonziwa of acting in connivance with a senior police officer in the illegal destruction of the docket in 2014. Two dockets reportedly disappeared during a trial at the Magistrates’ Court in Harare.

On Monday this week, Siziba wrote to Matanga and Mutsonziwa exposing the alleged connivance between the acting PG and a detective chief inspector only identified as Mashiri to cover up circumstances leading to the disappearance of the docket.

The letter was copied to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and the director general of the National Archives.

He further alleged that Mutsonziwa and Mashiri were trying to unlawfully protect the suspects from prosecution by abusing their official position.

“It is clear that before Mutsonziwa’s involvement in the matter, the then Attorney General’s Office in which the prosecution was housed had vetted the docket and found that there was a prosecutable case.

“It is equally true that after he (Mutsonziwa) became involved, he reversed that decision and on a second occasion as recently as 2021, he summoned the investigating officer to the NPA office and directed (Justin) Uladi to decline prosecution of the matter,” Siziba charged.

He said from Uladi’s affidavit filed under case number HC4343/22, Siziba had discovered that he (Uladi) positively alleges that the docket of the case reported in 2013 was destroyed in 2020. Uladi is the NPA’s acting deputy PG in charge of operations.

According to a letter written to the officer commanding the ZRP Criminal Investigation Department’s Commercial Crimes Division Northern Region, Mashiri said the docket Harare Central CR412/12/13 was filed as complete but was destroyed after its retention period lapsed. Mashiri also indicated that the docket — CR64/10/12 and CCD DR93/09/12 — were filed as incomplete under B16/14 and destroyed on March 20 2020.

However, Siziba in his correspondence to Matanga and Mutsonziwa argues that Mashiri has not provided proof of alleged facts.

“The letter relied upon by Uladi and Mashiri is mere hearsay. Uladi, who is fairly senior in government, does not say he made any attempts to be furnished with any such proof. I have since conducted my own investigation pertaining to the destruction of court documents from within the NPA, the ZRP and the National Archives and verily believe that the allegation that the docket was destroyed was false and, if true, is criminal.

“This is so because the destruction of public records can only be done under strict guidelines set in terms of the law and a record of all documents so destroyed must be made and kept by the authority which has authorised the destruction as at the time of such destruction,” Siziba said.

He further demanded that Mashiri explain the legal authority leading to the destruction of the docket including the names and ranks of policemen who destroyed it.

Siziba is also demanding the retention periods of the docket including whether all dockets from 2013 have been destroyed while asking for a copy of the relevant extract of the record book recording the destroyed docket. He also charged that destruction of the docket was unlawful adding that anyone involved was defeating and obstructing the course of justice.

“I draw your attention to the fact that the allegations I make in HC4343/22 are very specific and are directed against the acting PG. He is available and ought to have answered himself.

“I consider his directive to his subordinate Uladi to defend his refusal to prosecute inappropriately and potentially a criminal abuse of his authority,” he said.

Siziba said if the docket was unlawfully destroyed Uladi and Mashiri had broken the law and should be arrested and prosecuted for the offences. This current stalemate comes after Siziba reported Danckwerts and his colleagues after paying about ZW$9 million in 1998 for Lot 4 and 5 of Arlington Estate but the deal was reversed through a fraudulent CR14 and he lost control and ownership of the land.

He reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of Danckwerts and his colleagues but sometime in March 2014, Mutsonziwa allegedly summoned the docket for the purposes of reviewing it.

The NPA, represented by Justin Uladi has dismissed Siziba’s submissions at the High Court Mutsonziwa in his High Court papers said he was not aware of the second docket until an inquiry after receiving a complaint from Siziba’s lawyers.

He also denied the knowledge of key evidence Siziba alleges to have disappeared from the docket. The acting PG also confirmed that the dockets referred to by Siziba were destroyed by the police adding that he had nothing to do with the destruction of the dockets.

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