21 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Concourt Throws Away Prof Moyo Case Against ZACC

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo (file photo).

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has lost his constitutional court challenge where he sought to overturn his arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on allegations of abuse of office, fraud, corruption and obstruction of the course of justice.

The full Constitution Court bench ruled that there was no legal basis upon which Professor Moyo had approached the court.

"There is no proper legal basis on which the applicant approached the Constitutional Court. In the result, it is ordered that the application is dismissed with no order as to cost," ruled Justice Gwaunza on behalf of the Con-court bench.

Professor Moyo had approached the bench alleging that his right to personal liberty had been infringed on the basis that his arrest was unlawful. He challenged the role played by the then Acting Prosecutor General in the matter.

In the judgement the Con-court ruled that Prof Moyo had the right under section 46 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to challenge the lawfulness of his arrest before the remand court.

The Court also ruled that the challenge on the validity of the warrants for search and seizure were "misplaced".

"A dispute as regards the lawfulness or otherwise of such warrants does not require the interpretation and application of the Constitution. It requires the interpretation of the Act itself. It does not require the Constitutional Court to determine the issue," reads part of the judgement.

The judgement also maintained that the lawfulness of the arrest could have been addressed at the Magistrate's Court.

Professor Moyo, through his legal counsel led by Advocate Lewis Uriri, had sought to challenge the power of ZACC and a police officer seconded from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in effecting his arrest.

"Whatever view the applicant takes of the relationship between ZACC and the first respondent, the question of what section 13 of the Act, as read with section 1 of the schedule to the Act, means would need to be determined," ruled the Con-Court.

The judgement gave the Magistrate Court power to determine whether the statutory provision means ZACC can have a person arrested whom it reasonably suspects of having committed an offence falling within its jurisdiction by a police officer who forms his or her own reasonable suspicion of the person having committed the offence.

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