Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo was yesterday slapped with costs after his application challenging the constitutionality of his arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) was postponed indefinitely for failing to comply with the Supreme Court rules.
Source: Jonathan Moyo slapped with costs, matter postponed – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 9, 2017
BY CHARLES LAITON
Through his lawyers, Moyo failed to properly paginate and bind his court documents in strict violation of rule 43 of the Supreme Court. This prompted the full Constitutional Court (ConCourt) bench to censure Moyo’s legal practitioners and decline to entertain the matter.
The postponement of the application came after the Prosecutor-General’s lawyer, Thembinkosi Magwaliba, raised a preliminary point arguing Moyo’s court documents had not been numbered, thereby, making it difficult for his client to follow.
Although Magwaliba, at some point, conceded he had no difficulties in proceeding with the unnumbered court record, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba declined to accept the position and took Moyo’s lawyer, Lewis Uriri, to task to explain why his court papers were not in order.
In his response, Uriri shifted blame to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, saying he was the one who had told him to submit the court documents without numbers considering the urgency of the matter.
Uriri’s response drew fury from the Deputy Chief Justice, who said what the lawyers had done was highly improper.
“The registrar of the court does not make the rules. He has no powers at all to make such rules. Are you suggesting that the lawyers failed to comply with the rules because of the registrar? Is that a reasonable explanation? The rules do not simply allow you to have that wrong practice … If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, why do you want to pamper it?” Justice Malaba said.
After a lengthy interaction with the court, Uriri later conceded there was non-compliance with the court rules and requested that the matter be postponed after offering to pay the Prosecutor-General’s Office the wasted costs.
Asked to comment on the postponement that had been sought, Vernanda Munyoro, who was representing Munyaradzi Chacha and Zacc, cited as first and second respondents, respectively, said her clients were not insisting on wasted costs, but were worried by the improper court record.
“The law does not serve the sluggard, but the vigilant,” Munyoro said, concurring to the postponement.
Moyo, who is facing allegations of defrauding the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund of over $400 000, was briefly arrested by Zacc officers last year with a view to take him to court to answer to the charges.
But the Higher Education minister then made a constitutional application challenging Zacc’s arresting powers. The anti-graft body has since admitted, in its heads of argument, that it has no such powers.
In its argument, Zacc said there were some police officers seconded to the organisation, who were the ones with arresting powers, including Chacha, who was handling Moyo’s case.
Moyo is being charged together with his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, who has also since won an application for his case to be heard before the ConCourt.