Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo breathed a sigh of relief yesterday after the Constitutional Court suspended his arrest until a determination of his application challenging the constitutionality of the arrest.
Prof Moyo was briefly arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on Wednesday after he presented himself to the anti-corruption body.
He was supposed to appear in court at the Harare Magistrates’ courts yesterday for initial remand, but was away in Bulawayo on official duty.
Prof Moyo approached the apex court a day after his release challenging the manner he was arrested by the anti-corruption body on allegations of abusing in excess of $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku suspended the arrest of Prof Moyo, who was being represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri instructed by Mr Terrence Hussein, after Prosecutor-General Mr Ray Goba, represented by Ms Olivia Zvedi, conceded the arrest was improperly handled.
“The papers clearly indicate that there is a real possibility that due process was not complied with in the handling of this matter,” said Chief Justice Chidyausiku.
“In light of this, the concession by the Prosecutor-General was based on sound legal consideration. Quite clearly, a definitive decision has to be made by this court.”
The Chief Justice also said it was for the apex court if it finds that there were proven failures of due process to determine what remedies were available to Prof Moyo.
He said Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha and Zacc had no legal status to drive the process forward without the Prosecutor-General, who is the prosecuting authority.
Said Chief Justice Chidyausiku: “The continued opposition to the application by ZACC was driven by something else other than legal considerations.” Mr Hussein was happy with the decision. He said his client could not be arrested and prosecuted in the interim until the apex court decides on the main application.
“We wanted an interim order stopping the arrest of the minister by Zacc,” Mr Hussein said after the ruling.
“The PG did not hesitate to make a concession after looking at the law and noticing that the procedure followed did not meet the constitutional requirement,” he said. Chacha and ZACC did not concede that their conduct was flawed, prompting the Chief Justice to make a ruling on the matter.
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. He also argues that the PG 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 yesterday, describing it as an illegality.
Chacha, he argued, could not be part of ZACC and the police at the same time while Mr Goba had no power to order his arrest.
According to information at hand, $95 800 was transferred from Zimdef to Wishbone Trading through Cabs. Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa received $20 000 through his personal Barclays account after which he transferred $19 030 to HIB Rajput PL T/A Ace Cycles. Dr Gandawa then transferred $27 550 to SKM Motorcycles for 10 tri-cycles for Prof Moyo and the balance was withdrawn in cash.
It is also now public knowledge that $107 525 was transferred from Zimdef to Fuzzy Technologies’ NMB Bank account, of which $5 745 was transferred to Pridham Investments for Dr Gandawa’s personal furniture.
Dr Gandawa also paid for 69 bicycles worth $7 260 for Prof Moyo. He also transferred $12 900 to Wisebone Trading as capital to finance his personal business and the remainder was withdrawn in cash.
The documents further indicate Zacc is investigating a separate case in which Prof Moyo and Dr Gandawa are suspected of getting Zimdef to release 100 000 litres of diesel worth $118 500 which was reportedly diverted to the black market.
It is alleged the fuel was requested by the Zimbabwe Youth Council on July 26 for a “skills gap assessment programme”. Dr Gandawa recommended the allocation and Prof Moyo gave his approval on August 4, 2016.
Prof Moyo, Dr Gandawa, Zimdef chief executive Mr Frederick Mandizvidza and finance director Nicholas Mapute could have unlawfully benefited from $430 000 of the State enterprise’s money between November 2015 and June 2016, documents show. Dr Gandawa and Mapute appeared in court yesterday and were remanded in custody for bail ruling today.
Zacc is investigating other alleged abuses of Zimdef funds by Prof Moyo, his deputy, and the three subordinates.