Businessman challenges State Liabilities Act

MUTARE businessman Tendai Blessing Mangwiro has now approached the High Court seeking an order to have part of the State Liabilities Act declared unconstitutional after his bid to attach the government’s property over his seized $78 900 were thwarted by the government, which argued its property is protected by the Act.

Source: Businessman challenges State Liabilities Act – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 15, 2016


Mangwiro is battling to recover his $78 900 and $1,5 million confiscated by the police in 2008. Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has already been convicted for defying a court order to pay the businessman back his money, but cannot attach government property because of the State Liabilities Act.

In his application challenging the constitutionality of the Act, Mangwiro, through his lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, argued some government officials were abusing the State Liabilities Act to evade complying with court orders.

However, Justice Edith Mushore yesterday reserved ruling in the matter after listening to arguments by both parties during which Zhuwarara said the law must be applied equally between individuals and even the government.

Zhuwarara further argued the law was not clear since it does not give a time frame within which an order that is to be satisfied through the State Liabilities Act must be complied with and implemented, adding the State was entitled to abide by the law and could not make excuses in perpetuity.

“This statutory provision is illusionary. When court orders come out, they call for immediate compliance,”
Zhuwarara said, adding the judiciary speaks of court orders and if the orders were not complied with, the courts would lose respect.

“Ordinary citizens will have no remedy even after being granted the remedy,” he said.

In his court papers, the businessman said the Act was preventing him from executing judgments granted in his favour and wanted part of it struck off the statutes.

However, Attorney-General’s representative Happy Magadure urged the court to dismiss the application, arguing the State Liabilities Act was acceptable in a democratic society.

Magadure said government’s property belongs to its citizens and, as such, could not be attached for the benefit of individuals, adding the government was not financially sound to comply with the order as it was even struggling to pay its own workforce.