Zimbabwe: Mutangadura Contests Transfer

12 February 2019

Former director of economic crimes in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), chief law officer Chris Mutangadura, is suing Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi at the High Court over his decision to transfer him to a district office in Guruve.

Mr Mutangadura was last week transferred to Guruve Magistrates Court, a decision he said was tantamount to a demotion.

In his chamber application filed by G Sithole Law Chambers, Mr Mutangadura wants an order staying the transfer.

The matter has been set down for hearing tomorrow before Justice Happias Zhou and Advocate Tazorora Musarurwa will argue the matter on behalf of Mr Mutangadura.

Mr Mutangadura contends that Mr Hodzi usurped the powers of the NPA board in violation of the provisions of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

"Section 6(1) (b) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act provides that it is the function of the board to appoint members, assign and reassign them duties.

"The administration and well-being of the Authority is placed in the care of the board by the NPA Act.

"Section 7 allows the board to delegate specific functions to any of the board's members. This must be done in writing. The first respondent (Mr Hodzi) is the chairman of the board, but he is not the board.

"He cannot usurp the functions of the board simply because he is its chairperson.

"In that respect, the unilateral decision by the first respondent to reassign me to Guruve is ultra vires section 6(1) (b) of the NPA Act," read Mr Mutangadura's affidavit.

Mr Mutangadura described the decision as outrageous and grossly irrational.

"I say so because I am a chief law officer and I have been so for 10 years. This is a fairly senior position as there is currently only National Director of Public Prosecutions before arriving at the PG himself.

"Chief law officers supervise principal law officers who in turn, supervise senior law officers, who in turn supervise law officers in charge of entire provinces.

"District stations like the one in Guruve are manned by law officers and at times, senior law officers. They can never be manned by chief law officers," he said.

Mr Mutangadura said if the PG was keen on transferring him, he should have moved him to a provincial station to carry out the duties of a chief law officer.

He further argued that transfer without proper notice was also unreasonable considering he is a family man, who needed to make family arrangements before relocating to another station.

"Even if I were being transferred to carry out the functions of a law officer, it is grossly irrational to command that I leave forthwith. There are numerous preparations that have to be made before one relocates to another province. Most importantly, there are family considerations.

"Even hurricanes come with warnings before one chooses to skip town," he said.

Mr Mutangadura said the decision was tantamount to a demotion and that he should have been afforded an opportunity to make representations in terms of the rules of natural justice.

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