Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The case in which Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo is contesting the constitutionality of his arrest for allegedly swindling the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) has been set down for hearing on June 14.The full bench of the Constitutional Court is set to determine the lawfulness of the arrest that was effected end of last year. Prof Moyo, his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa and Zimdef finance director Nicholas Mapute stand accused of abusing nearly $500 000 belonging to Zimdef.
They were arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc). Dr Gandawa and Mapute have since been placed on remand at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts. Before the trio’s court appearance date, Prof Moyo instructed his lawyer, Mr Terrence Hussein, to file an urgent interdict at the Constitutional Court.
The now late Retired Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku last year temporarily stayed Prof Moyo’s prosecution pending determination on whether or not his arrest was done in terms of the Constitution. In his main application, Prof Moyo is questioning the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police.
He argues that Zacc does not, in terms of the Constitution, have the power to arrest and detain suspects. Prof Moyo also argues that the Prosecutor-General does not, in terms of the Constitution, have the power to order the police to arrest an individual. He sought to stop his appearance in court, describing it as an illegality.
The investigating officer, Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha, he argued, could not be part of Zacc and the police at the same time, while the Acting Prosecutor-General, Advocate Ray Goba, had no power to order his arrest.
But Adv Goba said criminal allegations against Prof Moyo were well substantiated and urged the Constitutional Court to issue an order compelling him to appear before a magistrate in terms of the law within 24 hours of the issuance of the order to answer to the charges.
Responding to Prof Moyo’s challenge, Adv Goba said his office had perused the docket prepared by the investigators and reached a conclusion that there was an “overwhelmingly reasonable suspicion” that the politician and his accomplices committed fraud, theft, money laundering and criminal abuse of office.
To that end, Adv Goba urged the court to dismiss with costs the constitutional challenge by Prof Moyo and instead direct that he immediately surrenders himself to the investigators and appear before a magistrate to answer to the charges.
Adv Goba and his team of chief law officers also picked from the docket that Prof Moyo authorised various transactions in which Zimdef lost close to $500 000.
Adv Goba denied ever directing the police to arrest Prof Moyo, but instead said he only directed the Police Commissioner-General to follow due process of the law and assist in the finalisation of investigations by the Zacc.
He said Prof Moyo did not deserve to be treated differently from other suspects.