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High Court blow for Mnangagwa's PG

by ZimLive
16 Feb 2019 at 20:24hrs | Views
Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi has no power to employ, deploy, assign or transfer National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) staff because that is the sole preserve of the NPA board, a judge ruled on Friday.

Justice Happious Zhou of the Harare High Court said this as he set aside a decision by Hodzi to transfer Chief Law Officer Chris Mutangadura to Guruve, which the lawyer had challenged as irrational and unlawful.

The judge said the purported transfer was illegal, irrational and violated Mutangadura's right to administrative justice and the principle of legitimate expectation.

"The Prosecutor General has no power from the Constitution, NPA Act and its regulations to arrogate to himself the power to employ, deploy, assign or transfer NPA employees as such powers are vested in the NPA board. By authoring an illegal letter, the Prosecutor General violated the law and principle of legality," the judge found.

Justice Zhou said even where the PG had such powers, transferring a Chief Law Officer heading a specialist unit in the NPA (economic crimes) to a Growth Point was "grossly irrational and arbitrary".

"Even where his conditions of service are the same, it is as irrational as justifying the deployment of a professor of history from a university to teach the same history on the same employment conditions at a Primary School. That can only be a manifestation of mala fides (bad faith)," the judge said in a scathing ruling.

Mutangadura was entitled to due process under the Constitution and the Administrative Justice Act, the judge added, noting that this had been ‘deliberately violated" by Hodzi.

"Assuming that the PG had powers to transfer NPA employees, he had a duty to give audience and hear the applicant (Mutangadura). The unilateral and arbitrary transfer violated those common law principles," Justice Zhou added.

Hodzi, after Mutangadura challenged his transfer, initiated a process to subject the lawyer to a disciplinary hearing over a theft suspect he released before trial, opting to proceed by way of summons. The suspect, Kudakwashe Unity Mhike, was accused of having stolen $8,000 from RAM Petroleum. He fled to South Africa following his release, and RAM Petroleum filed a complaint against Mutangadura.

The judgment now means Hodzi cannot suspend Mutangadura.

Source - ZimLive