Ex-CIO boss’ case referred to Supreme Court

A HARARE regional court has referred to the Supreme Court a fraud case in which former Central Intelligence Organisation deputy director Lovemore Mukandi and two others are seeking permanent stay of prosecution citing breaches of their right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.

Mukandi, Nelson Mawere-Mubvumbi a former chief transport officer in the CIO, David Nyabando who was the administration officer and a businessman Mr Mohamed Ahmed Meman are being charged with fraud, which was allegedly committed 13 years ago.

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The fraud involved millions of Zimbabwe dollars. Magistrate Ms Fadzai Mthombeni granted the application on Wednesday after lawyers representing the quartet, Mr Wilson Tatenda Manase and Advocate Julia Wood convinced her that the case deserved the Constitutional Court’s attention.

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“We are talking of a delay of 15 years here. Will that be taken as unreasonable delay?

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“All put together there is a case where the Supreme Court must rule on whether or not to stay prosecution . . . The application is therefore granted,” ruled Ms Mthombeni. 

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The four were arrested in 1999 and placed on remand. In January 2000, they were removed from remand after the State failed to take the case to trial. At the end of last year they were served with summons for trial on December 15, which trial did not start. On January 7 this year, the trial again failed to open, prompting them to seek referral of the case to the Supreme Court.

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Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza opposed the application on the basis that the trial could not proceed since Mukandi was in self-imposed exile in Canada.