|Harare businessman acquitted|
|Wednesday, 20 June 2012 12:00|
HARARE businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo was last week found not guilty and acquitted of fraud and money laundering by a Bulawayo regional court. He was facing eight counts of fraud and one money laundering charge involving R2,2 million.
Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Godwin Sengweni ruled that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.
“I find that the State failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused in all the counts and I proceed to find him not guilty and acquitted on all eight counts at the close of the State case.”
Mr Sengwani said no evidence was led by the State that Mr Chivayo committed the offence.
“No evidence to prove essential elements of the offence charged and there was no evidence which a reasonable court acting carefully might properly convict. In a nutshell the court has no discretion but to acquit where the above deficiencies fiddle the safe care at its close,” Mr Sengweni said.
The magistrate noted that the complainants neither knew Mr Chivayo, nor did they deal or communicate with him.
He said police who investigated the case displayed lack of professionalism.
“By virtue of their training and profession policemen are men and women whose brief is to enforce the law and start the wheels of justice. Such a responsibility requires men and women of unquestionable integrity.
“To brutalise suspects and ignore the rudiments of the laws governing the handling of suspects cannot in any way reflect a civilised police force. It would be a sad day in the history of our jurisdiction if police officers of commanding ranks debased themselves to the level of ordinary things by physically and professionally violating the bodily integrity of suspects let alone wait for witnesses outside court houses to remind them of violence they would have survived before their testimony,” he said.
Mr Sengweni said this was a criminal and punishable offence and all policemen must take heed.
Police have since released Mr Chivayo’s five luxurious cars they impounded when they arrested him last year.