Chief Court Reporter
NINE days after the High Court dismissed his appeal against conviction and an effective one year jail sentence, former Zimbabwe Power Company board chair Stanley Kazhanje cannot find anyone to take him to jail with the police, the courts and even prison officers saying they have no authority to shove him in a cell.
Kazhanje has not been able to get a warrant of committal, the written instruction required for a convict to serve a jail term.
He was convicted of failure to declare to the Zimbabwe Power Corporation, his principal, a US$10 000 personal transaction with Intratrek Zimbabwe, fronted by businessman Wicknell Chivayo.
That earned him a three-year jail term. The High Court threw out his appeal on June 14, which meant that he had to go to jail. But no one wanted him.
Kazhanje went to hand himself to the police, but they refused to take him in saying they could only act on the strength of a warrant of committal.
While the bureaucracy creaks, Kazhanje is trying to move up the appeal ladder and on Wednesday sought leave to appeal against the High Court decision at the Supreme Court. But Justice Benjamin Chikowero struck the matter off the roll, saying he was improperly before the court since by this stage he should have been in prison.
Kazhanje’s legal counsel explained to the judge that there was no warrant to execute, for him to go to jail hence they brought him before the court.
So Justice Chikowero ordered Kazhanje to surrender himself to the Registrar of the High Court, which he did. But the registrar refused to take him, saying he had no warrant for his committal and referred him to the prison officers at the court.
The prison officers, however, were in a dilemma over how to deal with Kazhanje’s case without a warrant of committal.
Kazhanje’s lawyers insisted that they take him into custody while they put their house in order, giving the unusual situation of the defence lawyers and the accused insisting on the prison term and the State officers trying to wriggle out of it.
Kazhanje’s case exposed bureaucratic bungling, which had seen some criminals who would have lost their appeals at the Supreme Court or High Court being listed as wanted criminals on the run.
They are not being accounted for by the responsible authorities in the justice system. They just disappear after losing their appeals. Few go to Kazahanje’s lengths to serve time.
Kazhanje was supposed to start serving his jail term soon after losing his appeal on June 14, but up now he cannot find his way to jail.
In October last year Kazhanje hogged the limelight for wrong reasons when he attempted to outfox the justice system by applying for bail pending appeal against his conviction and jail term while in the comfort of his home. By this stage he was supposed to be behind bars and applying for bail from his cell. An alert High Court judge noticed he was not in prison and ordered his incarceration.
He instead, filed a fresh application for bail pending appeal from his home. He was later granted the relief he sought while in custody, but that bail expired when his appeal failed.
Kazhanje was in September 2019 convicted after a full trial by now retired senior regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya and sentenced to three years in jail. Two years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
The trial court heard that on January 21, 2016 Kazhanje received US$10 000 into his First Capital Bank personal account from Intratrek’s CBZ Bank account.
Kazhanje failed to declare his interest to the power company and presided over a meeting where the power company resolved to directly pay Intratrek subcontractors instead of terminating the contract.
ZPC went on to pay about $4,4 million as advance payment despite Intratrek’s failure to fulfil its obligation. The court heard that Kazhanje was influenced by this payment to decide in favour of Intratrek.