Mujuru faces arrest over will

Debra Matabvu
\nFormer Vice-President Dr Joice Mujuru can be prosecuted for allegedly refusing to register General Solomon Mujuru’s will with the High Court as required by law. The crime attracts five years imprisonment. Last week, Mujuru family lawyer Mr Thakor Kewada said in a letter to the Master of the High Court that he had years back drawn Gen Mujuru’s will, in which the legal practitioner was named executor.
\nHe said Dr Mujuru has the will, but was reluctant to give it to him.

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Legal experts yesterday said it was a serious criminal offence for one to wilfully withhold a deceased person’s property from an executor.
\nMr Terrence Hussein of Hussein and Ranchod Legal Practitioners said: “According to Section 23(1)b of the Wills Act, any person, who, after the death of a testator, alters anything in a will, wilfully conceals, wilfully destroys any will shall be guilty of an offence liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine or such imprisonment.

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“Therefore, any person making allegations of the above offences can report to the police or to the Master of the High Court who will report the matter to the police.”

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Mr Jonathan Samukange, another lawyer, said a will constituted a deceased person’s property. “It is a criminal offence to wilfully withhold a deceased person’s will and this is provided (for) in the Wills Act. It is just like when you know you have a deceased person’s property, but refuse to declare it to the executor. It is a serious criminal offence, which one can be prosecuted for. In fact, such a person should be prosecuted.”

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Mr Samukange said after a will has been read, it is the executor’s duty to identify the deceased’s properties, verify if the entire estate is registered and then distribute it accordingly.

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“After the executor identifies, investigates and combines the deceased’s estate, he will have to share it among the beneficiaries who may include children born in and out of wedlock.

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“It is not the responsibility of the executor to challenge the identity or paternity of the deceased’s children. He/she should just distribute the estate to beneficiaries listed in the deceased’s will or those with evidence that they are, indeed, the deceased’s children.”