HIGH COURT judge, Justice Owen Tagu has issued a 14-day ultimatum to
Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to pay a Mutare businessman,
Blessing Mangwiro, $1,5 million, which was seized by the police in 2012,
or risk being found in contempt of court.
Justice Tagu’s order comes after several similar judgments Chombo has not complied with, prompting Mangwiro to seek execution of government property.
“The respondent (Chombo) is ordered and directed to comply with statutory duty cast upon him in terms of section 5(2) of the State Liabilities Act, that is to cause to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the sum of money awarded to applicant by the order of this honourable court dated August 17, 2016 in case number HC4766/13,” Justice Tagu said in the order dated November 4, 2016.
“The respondent (Chombo) is ordered and directed to comply with the order in the above paragraph (1) within 14 days of this order having been served on him or his permanent secretary or any responsible person in his ministry, failing which the respondent be and is, hereby, declared to be in contempt of this order. The respondent is to pay applicant’s costs of suit at a legal practitioner and client scale.”
He then approached the court seeking reimbursement and several court orders were granted in his favour, but Chombo allegedly persistently refused to budge.
In an application for a mandamus order filed last month, Mangwiro said he was further seeking costs of suit on a higher scale, accusing Chombo of deliberately being contemptuous of court orders.
“The respondent, Minister of Home Affairs (Chombo) is cited in his personal capacity because I obtained an order against him in case number HC4766/13 in his official capacity, which he failed to comply with,” he said in his founding affidavit.
“These proceedings seek to compel the minister, personally, to take steps necessary to have the payments made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. His failure to do so will obviously be contemptuous of the order of this honourable court and may/or will result in him being personally lodged in prison, which could not happen if he is sued in his official capacity.”
In a different but related matter, Attorney-General, Prince Machaya urged the businessman to seek Chombo’s arrest for defying yet another court order by refusing to reimburse him $78 000 seized during the same year.
Machaya’s remarks came after Mangwiro’s efforts to attach government property hit a snag following the invocation of the State Liabilities Act.
Yesterday, Mangwiro approached the sheriff of Zimbabwe requesting a copy of the return of service in an application for contempt of court against Chombo, which is set to be heard today. newsday