28 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Jane Mutasa to Face Prosecution

In a landmark ruling today, the Supreme Court has ordered the Prosecutor -General Mr Johannes Tomana to issue a certificate to privately prosecute Telecel shareholder Jane Mutasa within five days on charges of swindling the mobile phone company of more than US$1,7million.

Telecel took the matter to the Supreme Court on appeal after the High Court threw out its application last year.

Justice Garwe allowed the appeal saying a private corporate like Telecel is entitled at law to institute private prosecution.

"It is directed and ordered within five days to issue a certificate (for private prosecution) to the applicant and defendant to pay costs," read the operative part of the judgment.

Mutasa was arrested sometime in 2010 along with the company's commercial director, Naguib Omar, for allegedly stealing airtime cards worth over US$1,7 million.

Mr Tomana declined to prosecute Mutasa citing lack of incriminating evidence, a development which did not go down well with Telecel.

Through its lawyer Mr Isaiah Mureriwa of Scanlen and Holderness, Telecel applied for authority to institute private prosecution. Mr Tomana again declined the request.

This prompted the mobile phone service provider to approach the High Court for review of Mr Tomana's decision.

Justice Ben Hlatshwayo then a high court judge threw out the application saying a private company cannot institute private prosecution.

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