Court reverses PG’s decision to transfer law officer

16 Feb, 2019 - 00:02 0 Views
Court reverses PG’s decision to transfer law officer Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi

The Chronicle

Freeman Razemba, Harare Bureau
THE High Court has overturned the decision by Prosecutor General (PG) Mr Kumbirai Hodzi to transfer chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura to a district office in Guruve.

Mr Mutangadura, who was director of economic crimes, was on February 7 this year transferred to the rural station with immediate effect, a development he argued was tantamount to a demotion.

High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou ruled that the transfer was flawed because the PG had no power to employ, deploy, assign or transfer NPA employees without the approval of the NPA board.

He said that even if the PG had the power to do so, transferring a whole chief law officer to a growth point station was as irrational as transferring a Professor of History from a university to teach the same subject at a primary school.

The court noted that the unilateral and arbitral transfer was in violation of Mr Mutangadura’s right to administrative justice. On Wednesday, the same judge threw out two preliminary objections raised by Mr Hodzi. Mr Hodzi wanted the matter to be dismissed on a technicality that it was not urgent and that Mr Mutangadura had not exhausted the domestic remedies available to him.

On Monday, Mr Mutangadura sued Mr Hodzi at the High Court over the transfer.

In the chamber application filed by G Sithole Law Chambers, Mr Mutangadura wanted an order staying the transfer. Mr Mutangadura contended that Mr Hodzi usurped the powers of the NPA board in violation of the provisions of the National Prosecuting Authority Act. “Section 6(1) (b) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act provides that it is the function of the board to appoint members, assign and reassign them duties,” he said.

“The administration and well-being of the Authority is placed in the care of the board by the NPA Act. Section 7 allows the board to delegate specific functions to any of the board’s members. This must be done in writing. The first respondent (Mr Hodzi) is the chairman of the board, but he is not the board.

He cannot usurp the functions of the board simply because he is its chairperson. In that respect, the unilateral decision by the first respondent to reassign me to Guruve is ultra vires section 6(1) (b) of the NPA Act.”

Mr Mutangadura described the decision as outrageous and grossly irrational.

He said if the PG was keen on transferring him, he should have moved him to a provincial station to carry out the duties of a chief law officer.

He further argued that transfer without proper notice was also unreasonable, considering he was a family man who needed to make arrangements for his family before relocating to the station.

Mr Mutangadura said he should have been afforded an opportunity to make representations in terms of the rules of natural justice.

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