Thursday, 17 November 2016


Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, who is battling to evade a 90-day prison term for contempt of court, has demanded that the matter be referred to the judge president or back to the judge who initially dealt with the case.

Chombo was slapped with the prison term last week by High Court judge Amy Tsanga after he was found guilty of contemptuously failing to facilitate the release of $78 900 confiscated from Mutare businessman Tendai Blessing Mangwiro following his wrongful arrest on theft charges in 2008.

Mangwiro also separately won another High Court order compelling the minister to further release $1,5 million which was also forcibly taken from him by police at the time of the businessman’s arrest. The police failed to return the money following Mangwiro’s acquittal in 2012.

Mangwiro’s lawyers Mahuni and Mutatu Legal Practitioners have been fighting tooth and nail for Chombo’s incarceration, but the minister claims he complied with the court orders.
Joseph Mumbengegwi from the Attorney-General (AG)’s office wrote letters to the High Court registrar and the Sheriff on Monday, claiming that Chombo has cleansed himself of the contempt after asking the exchequer to settle the bill.

“We have noted that Mahuni and Mutatu Legal Practitioners have insisted that the minister of Home Affairs should be sent to prison notwithstanding that the minister purged his contempt in compliance with the court orders and the State Liabilities Act,” Mumbengegwi said.

“To put this issue of compliance with the court orders to rest, may you please refer the issue . . . to the judge president or the same judge who issued a contempt order to make a determination on whether indeed the minister has complied or not.”

He also said that the request to Treasury was made and received for the money to be paid.
But Mangwiro’s lawyers said the mere request to Treasury does not mean that the minister has complied with the court orders.

“Consequently, we do not perceive the conduct of the minister as consisting compliance and neither does it amount to purging of his contempt of court. What it therefore means is that, there is no reason whatsoever why the minister has not been committed to gaol unless it is your view that he is above the supremacy of the law,” Mangwiro’s lawyer Shelton Mahuni said.

He said the steps being taken by the minister are not in conformity with the order of the court, adding that the lawyers were simply doing their job by pursuing the matter on their client’s behalf.

Mangwiro has also challenged the State Liabilities Act after failing to find recourse and claims Chombo and the police are abusing the Act to avoid complying with court orders.
High Court judge Edith Mushore reserved ruling in the matter on Monday.  daily news


Post a Comment