Source: Chihuri battles to avoid jail term, engages AG’s Office – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 6, 2017
POLICE Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, has roped in the Attorney-General’s (AG) Office to apply for stay of execution of his 30-day jail term for defying a court order compelling him to pay his former subordinate’s terminal benefits.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Chihuri was on May 22 this year ordered by High Court judge, Justice Jester Helena Charehwa to pay his former subordinate, Anatos Mpofu, his terminal benefits amounting to $58 131, failing which he would be jailed for 30 days for contempt of court.
In an urgent chamber application filed by Kudzai Warinda from the AG’s Office, Chihuri pleaded with the court to spare him a jail term, saying he had since applied for rescission of judgment in Mpofu’s matter.
The top cop claimed that when the contempt of court application was filed, he was not personally served with the papers and a return copy of the application indicated it was served on an Assistant Inspector Gunda at the registry office of Police General Headquarters.
“Apart from fatally defective service of the contempt of court application, the order of the late honourable Karwi J, which the respondent (Mpofu) alleges that the applicants (Chihuri and the Police Service Commission) have not complied with, has, on the contrary, been complied with,” Warinda said.
“The applicants have since filed an application for rescission of the default judgment under case number 4786/17 in order to rescind the order that was made under HC6040/16.”
Warinda further said until a determination was made on the pending matter, it would be premature for the court to permit execution of the court order to be pursued.
“I take the respectful view that the first applicant (Chihuri) will suffer irreparable harm if the order … were to be implemented without being given another opportunity to be heard. I verily believe that imprisonment is a harsh form of punishment and deprives a person of their liberty and, therefore, is a grave consequence the first applicant may have to endure,” he said.
“I further believe that the rationale for requiring personal service in a case where a person’s liberty is likely to be affected arises from the realisation that an order for imprisonment is harsh and has drastic consequences.”
In his application, Mpofu accused Chihuri and Assistant Commissioner Nzombe of having misrepresented the facts in an attempt to frustrate payment of his terminal benefits.
Mpofu said Chihuri was ordered to pay him his dues sometime in September 2010, but the Commissioner-General defied the order.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.