13 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Newman Chiadzwa to Get Back Diamonds Seized By Police

Businessman Newman Chiadzwa will get back 43 000 carats of diamonds worth millions of dollars seized by police after the State today withdrew its Supreme Court appeal against his acquittal on charges of illegally dealing in precious stones.

Law officer Mr Edmore Nyazamba withdrew the appeal after a three-member bench grilled him on the State's five grounds of appeal.

When the grounds were discredited one by one, Mr Nyazamba abandoned the case.

Mr Nyazamba said when he filed the appeal against Chiadzwa's acquittal on review, he was not aware of the reasons made in an earlier ruling on a related matter.

It came to his attention during the proceedings that an officer from the Attorney-General's Office had already conceded that Chiadzwa had been wrongly arrested.

"Now that the court has confirmed that a State representative made concessions and that Justices (Vernanda) Ziyambi and (Paddington) Garwe) were part of the same proceedings, I have no reason to doubt the court. I had not had sight of the reasons for the criminal appeal.

"In light of the issues ventilated in these proceedings, the present appeal can no longer be sustained. I will not pursue it," said Mr Nyazamba.

Justice Ziyambi confirmed the withdrawal of the appeal.

It was all smiles as Chiadzwa left the courtroom with his lawyers Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Mr Puwai Chiutsi.

He said was now going to take his diamonds back from the police.

Chiadzwa - who was jailed for five years and fined US$132 000 by a Mutare Magistrates' Court in March 2010 for breaching the Precious Stones Act - on June 29, 2011 walked out of prison after High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema passed a default judgment quashing the lower court's conviction and sentence on review.

The AG's Office unsuccessfully applied for rescission of the default judgment before Justice Priscilla Chigumba. The State then filed the appeal that was today withdrawn at the Supreme Court for lack of merit.

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