Housemaid’s extradition to SA suspended

gavelFidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The extradition of the Zimbabwean housemaid who allegedly stole R1,5 million, hundreds of euros and British pounds from her employer in South Africa early this year has been put on hold until a proper application is made.

Constance Mujeyi (28) allegedly swindled her former employer and fled back home with her loot.

Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo two weeks ago advised Mujeyi, who is being charged along with her two brothers Watson Laiton (27) and Mathew Laiton (23), of their extradition to South Africa for trial.

The extradition was supposed to be carried out on August 28. But the trio’s lawyer Mr Norman Mugiya hastily filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court challenging the extradition on the grounds that the order was defective.

Justice Esther Muremba heard the application sitting in her chambers last Friday. The hearing culminated in both parties’ lawyers agreeing to a consent order provisionally halting the extradition. Mr Mugiya argued that there was a pending matter before the same court barring the extradition to South Africa, saying it was unlawful.

The pending matter was filed under case Number HC6891/15. Mr Mugiya argued that the magistrate and the State represented by Chief Law Officer Mr Chris Mutangadura had not complied with the provisions of the Extradition Act.

After hearing submissions from both parties, it was suggested that the parties agree to a consent order provisionally stopping the extradition until the matter is finalised.

“The ruling that was handed down by the court a quo (lower court) on August 19 2015 notifying the accused persons that they will be extradited to South Africa within a week be and is hereby set aside,” read the consent order signed by both parties lawyers.

“The applicants have a right to respond to the State’s application for extradition before a decision is made by the court before which such application may be made.”

The move to extradite the trio follows a request by South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Mujeyi allegedly hatched a plan to steal from Veronica Wilkins and roped in her brothers, who helped her flee to Zimbabwe. They reportedly built a house in Zengeza 5, Chitungwiza, and bought a car before concealing the balance.

The three now face two counts of theft and money laundering. According to the State, on May 11 Mujeyi stole the money from Wilkins’ bedroom and handed it over to Watson and Mathew, who were also working in South Africa.

It is the State’s case that the three assisted the police in recovering part of the money and the purchased vehicle was confiscated by police as an exhibit.