HARARE – A lawyer representing Harare businessman Malvern Chimutashu, who is accused of attempting to coerce a key witness in Higher Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa’s alleged fraud case, was yesterday accused of applying a wrong section of the law in an application for referral of his case to the Constitutional Court (Con-Court).
Chimutashu, appeared before magistrate Lizani Ncube represented by Clemence Ngweshiwa.
The 33-year-old had made the application arguing that his constitutional rights were infringed by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) during arrest and detention.
He is being charged with obstructing the course of justice and accused of interfering with Walter Chasara, the star witness.
When Chimutashu gave oral evidence in court yesterday, he urged the court to consider that Gandawa had been removed from remand and granted leave to take his matter to the Con-Court.
“The mother case involving Gandawa has been removed from this court. It is the same matter from which the charges I am facing stem from,” Chimutashu said.
“During the ruling on Gandawa’s case, the magistrate did agree with him that Zacc does not have arresting powers and declared evidence gathered null and void.”
Prosecutor, Michael Reza, urged the court to dismiss Chimutashu’s application because his lawyer had based it on a section of the law that does not address his plea.
Ngweshiwa confirmed using a wrong section of the law but still argued that the court could consider factual issues in its decision.
“…even if one misses a section of the law, the facts on its own can be considered by the court. The main issue here is whether or not Zacc has arresting powers because the officers who arrested my client were acting under its instruction,” Ngweshiwa said.
Ngweshiwa has made sensational claims that Zacc officials trapped his client to nail him.
Ncube will determine whether the matter should be referred to the Con-Court on February 2.
According to Reza, on July 27 last year, Chasara reported an alleged fraud case at Zacc against Gandawa.
The court heard that Chasara then submitted a written statement implicating Gandawa as one of the accused persons.
It was alleged that between July and September last year, Chimutashu met Chasara and persuaded him to withdraw the charges.
The court heard that Chimutashu then crafted an affidavit purporting that Chasara had made a false report against Gandawa to Zacc.
After compiling the alleged document, Chimutashu only left a space for Chasara to put his signature as acknowledgement of the drafted facts.
The crafted affidavit was disassociating Chasara from being a star witness, indicating that he had been coerced to file a report at Zacc.
It was alleged that Chasara had been promised an unspecified amount of money in the event he put his signature.
However, on September 6, Chasara approached Zacc and reported that Chimutashu was coercing him to sign the affidavit.
It was then that a trap was set, resulting in Chimutashu’s arrest.