Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Businessman and former Zimbabwe Football Association acting chairman, Vincent Pamire last week had his bid for referral of his case to the Constitutional Court on the basis of inordinate delay in the hearing of his appeal thrown out by the High Court.
Pamire has not prosecuted his appeal against both conviction and sentence since the noting of appeal about 11 years ago.
The High Court ordered his release from prison in 2009 saying once an appeal against the sentence of restitution is noted, the decision of the trial court is suspended.
The noting of appeal automatically suspends the running of a sentence of restitution.
In this case, Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled that Pamire’s application was unfounded and dismissed it with costs.
However, the judge conceded that there was inordinate delay in the processing of the appeal, finding that there was no correspondence between the registrar and clerk of court regarding the preparation of the record and what delayed the appeal.
“However, equally if not more culpable is the appellant himself,” said Justice Musakwa.
“The appellant appears to have adopted a supine attitude and never asserted his rights. There is no evidence of any correspondence that was written demanding the setting down of the appeal.”
Pamire was convicted of fraud after he received a total of US$222 970 on four occasions from Ugandan firm, Victoria Steel, in which he was a director to pay Ziscosteel for exported steel, but pocketed the foreign currency.
Victoria Steel had bought thousands of tonnes of steel from Zimbabwe and entrusted Pamire with payment.
He was in December 2008 convicted of fraud and sentenced to 30 months in jail.
However, the court suspended six months of the sentence on condition of good behaviour. A further 12 months were suspended on condition he paid Ziscosteel restitution, while the final 12 months were suspended on condition that he performed 420 hours of community service at United Bulawayo Hospitals.
Pamire was given up to January 31 2009 to pay restitution, but failed to meet the deadline. He approached the court for extension of time to pay, which was then extended to February 26 2009 and again failed to pay.
He was then locked in prison for a week awaiting the court to make an inquiry on the warrant of arrest he had been issued.
The court also ordered him to seek further extension of time to pay.
After a full inquiry, the court gave Pamire the benefit of the doubt upon the production of a letter from a doctor who examined and treated him and cancelled the warrant of arrest, but could not extend the period for time to pay.