Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has been given a 14-day ultimatum to comply with a High Court order to reimburse Mutare-based businessman Tendai Blessing Mangwiro $78 900 seized by the police, failure of which he will face contempt of court charges.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Mangwiro last month took the minister to court after filing an application for a mandamus (judicial remedy), demanding Chombo act in terms of his duties and facilitate the release of his seized money.
In his application, Mangwiro, who was cleared of theft charges involving the money in 2012, said since an order for the reimbursement of his seized money was done over a year ago, Chombo had not acted in terms of the directive prompting him (Mangwiro) to approach the court for recourse.
In his judgment on Wednesday, High Court judge Justice November Mtshiya ruled in favour of the businessman and ordered Chombo to ensure the order was immediately complied with.
“The respondent (Chombo) is ordered and directed to comply with statutory duty cast upon him in terms of section 5(2) of the State Liabilities Act, that is to cause to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the sum of money awarded to applicant by the order of this honourable court dated February 18, 2015 in case number HC4766/13, judgment number HH-147/15,” the judge ruled.
“The respondent is ordered and directed to comply with the order within 14 days of this order having been served on him, or his permanent secretary, or any responsible person in the ministry, failing which the respondent be and is, hereby, declared to be in contempt of this order.”
The court also slapped the Home Affairs ministry with the costs of the lawsuit, which, according to Mangwiro’s lawyers, had risen to $3 000.