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Chidhakwa, Gudyanga trial deferred to Thursday

by Staff rpeorter
09 Jan 2019 at 18:18hrs | Views
The criminal abuse of office trial of former Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa and former Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Francis Gudyanga has been postponed to tomorrow (Thursday) as the Harare Magistrates Court awaits the High Court ruling on the application for review filed by the two accused persons.

Harare magistrate, Nyasha Vhitorini deferred the trial indicating that the High Court which late on Tuesday presided over an application for review of his ruling in which he refused to recuse himself from the case was yet to deliver its findings.

Chidhakwa through his lawyer, Advocate Silvester Hashiti had filed for the recusal of the magistrate, saying it is not provided in law to assign the trial matter to another magistrate unless in case of death or resignation of the previously assigned magistrate.

The case commenced with magistrate Josephine Sande presiding before it was taken over by magistrate Estere Vhivasa who subsequently handed over the case to Vhitorini.

Hashiti then approached the High Court after Vhitorini refused to recuse himself, saying he was not conflicted and he will deal with the matter impartially as change of the magistrates was purely an administrative issue.

Allegations arose from a May 2015 incident when Gudyanga as the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development allegedly received appeal correspondence from Ronald Mugangavari over a mining dispute.

Mugangavari was allegedly appealing against a determination by the provincial mining commissioners for Masvingo and Midlands in connection with a mine ownership wrangle between Herbert Hwekwete and Mugangavari.

It is alleged that Chidhakwa and Gudyanga, in spite of knowing that only the High Court has jurisdiction to deal with appeals against a mining commissioner, went on nullify the determination made by Phiri and Paskwavaviri, showing favour towards Mugangavari.

It is further contended that the unlawful decision resulted in Mugangavari unlawfully returning to the mine where he conducted mining activities.

The state alleges that on July 4 last year, Mugangavari allegedly shot and injured Hwekwete and his cousin brother, Robert.

The shooting allegedly took place after the two victims had visited the mine at the centre of the dispute.

Source - zbc