Businessman pleads with MDC Justice Minister

HARARE – An ex-soldier has approached the Deputy Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, Jessie Majome, to seek redress in a long-running case in which his factory was illegally sold by the Master of High Court, Charles Nyatanga.

Ex-serviceman Bobby Maparanyanga, who saw service in the Zimbabwe National Army in the 80s and 90s, says Nyatanga illegally sold his factory in Willowvale more than 10 years ago. Maparanyanga and the British national who bought the factory have over the past decade filed with the High Court and Supreme Court numerous applications and counter applications, and no less than six different judges have adjudicated upon these applications.

Maparanyanga has written a record 10 letters to President Mugabe seeking redress, but Nyatanga has been protected by the minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, according to correspondence in our possession.

Maparanyanga says Chinamasa has over the past 10 years blocked the prosecution of Nyatanga for illegally selling the factory.

Documents in our possession reveal the long-running attempts by Chinamasa and his permanent secretary David Mangota to shield Nyatanga from prosecution from as way back as 1999.

Nyatanga illegally sold Maparanyanga’s property when he was still a Messenger of Court.

Nyatanga was said to have sold Maparanyanga’s Lot 1 of Willowvale industrial factory measuring 8094 square metres to British national Michael Scot Asher, claiming that he was conducting a judicial sale and that Maparanyanga’s property had been sold to recover money owed to ZimBank.

However, at the time of the sale of the property, ZimBank had advised Nyatanga through its lawyers that there was no need to proceed with the judicial sale because all monies owed had been paid back in full, but Nyatanga went ahead and made an illegal sale, from which he is alleged to have personally benefited.

Nyatanga was said to have proceeded to make the sale cognisant of instructions from lawyers Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans, the legal practitioners of the then ZimBank, to which Maparanyanga was indebted, to cancel the auction sale.

Because of difficulties encountered in reclaiming his property, sold for Z$30 million back then, the ex-soldier approached President Mugabe seeking his help.

The Zimbabwe Times is in possession of letters sent to President Mugabe between 2002 and 2008, appealing for his executive intervention in getting Nyatanga to face justice, but to date Maparanyanga’s has failed to recover his property amid blatant meddling in the justice process by Chinamasa, he alleges.

Mugabe also refused to act on Maparanyanga’s appeal for justice, only ordering an investigation but refusing to act on the “blatant miscarriage of justice”.

Now the ex-soldier has stacked his hope of recovering his property on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who together with Mugabe and deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara formed a unity government in February.

Tsvangirai has assigned Deputy Justice Minister Jessie Majome to deal with the matter.

“The case is on her front burner,” Majome told The Zimbabwe Times. “I am aware of the matter and I am looking into it.”

In his letter to Mugabe dated August 15, 2007, Maparanyanga complains that his just cause to have Nyatanga arraigned before the courts for his criminal conduct of illegally selling his industrial property had been blocked by the same authorities who otherwise are supposed to be the custodians of the justice delivery system.

“There is no doubt that Mr D Mangota and the honourable minister Cde Chinamasa are firmly behind the protection of Nyatanga,” says the letter to Mugabe. “I must say here that I talk of protection which is being given to Nyatanga not because he needed such protection, but that, those who are protecting him know very well that Nyatanga committed the offence and if they do not block the course of justice, he will be punished by the law.”

Maparanyanga further says there has been perverse conduct by judges appointed to hear the case and their judgements showed the meddling by the minister.

Chinamasa was not available for comment at the time of going to print.

Documents to hand reveal that after failing to obtain justice in the High Court, Maparanyanga took his case to the Supreme Court on October 1, 2007, but he says he just went to the hearing as a formality as the matter was “finalised before it was heard”, and laments that there has been no justice for him and he feels let down by the system.

After losing his case in the Supreme Court, Maparanyanga again attempted, in futility, to highlight to Mugabe that the sale of his factory was clearly a criminal conduct to deprive him of his property permanently and that Nyatanga’s insistence to go ahead with the sale in spite of the cancellation by Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans lawyers indicated that there was something Nyatanga was personally benefitting and went beyond his normal work.

Mugabe tasked Tsodzo to propose convening independent assessors to resolve the matter, but it is believed the independent assessment was blocked by Ray Ndlukula.

Mugabe was said to have advised Maparanyanga that notwithstanding losing the case in the Supreme Court, he will still be helped to recover the property. But Mugabe has not acted to this day to recover Maparanyanga’s property. Meanwhile all efforts to arraign Nyatanga before the courts have been foiled.

“I cannot rest until I get my property back or a full compensation of its value, therefore, I do not think it is right that we are independent to protect wrong-doers at the expense of innocent citizens,” Maparanyanga said in another letter to Mugabe, dated September 8, 2008.

Maparanyanga says he is now pinning his hopes on Majome. He says he is appalled that the judiciary could be suborned to the whims of Minister Chinamasa. The Zimbabwe Times