14 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Telecel, Tomana On Collision Course

Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited has requested the Constitutional Court to abandon the Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana's application challenging a court order that he issues a certificate for private prosecution of shareholder Ms Jane Mutasa.

Mr Tomana on March 11 filed a Constitutional Court application against the Supreme Court ruling saying the decision sought to interfere with powers constitutionally vested in his office.

However, Mr Tomana was expected to file his heads of argument within 15 days of bringing the application. That period lapsed on April 1 despite a notice by the Registrar of the Supreme Court reminding him to do so.

"Please note that if you fail to comply ... the application will be placed before the Chief Justice (Godfrey Chidyausiku) for direction," read the March 6, 2014 letter.

Last Tuesday, Telecel lawyer Advocate Isaiah Mureriwa wrote to the Constitutional Court requesting the matter to be abandoned for non-compliance with court rules.

"The applicant having been invited by your esteemed office to file heads of argument within 15 days calculated from 11 March 2014 and lapsing on April 1, 2014, failed to file the requisite heads of argument in terms of the Practice Directive No 2 of 2013.

"The matter can rightly be regarded as abandoned," said Adv Mureriwa.

He wants the Chief Justice to rule in his client's favour and deem the matter abandoned.

Mr Tomana wants to quash Justice Bharat Patel's ruling that a private entity could institute private prosecution and that Mr Tomana failed to exercise his statutory powers on proper legal footing.

In February, the mobile phone company obtained an order that Mr Tomana issue a certificate for prosecution of Ms Mutasa on fraud charges involving more than US$1,7 million in airtime recharge vouchers.

Ms Mutasa was arrested in 2010 along with the company's commercial director, Naguib Omar, for allegedly stealing the airtime vouchers.

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