Police accused of using ‘non-existent law’

via Police accused of using ‘non-existent law’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 20, 2014 by Blessing Mhlanga

THE lawyer representing Kwekwe’s community radio initiative Radio Kwelaz, Valentine Mutatu, has accused the police of using a non-existent law to halt operations and confiscate studio equipment following a raid at the media house’s offices on Tuesday.

In a letter delivered to Kwekwe police officer-in-charge (Law and Order Section) on Wednesday, Mutatu accused the police of quoting a law that does not exist in seizing Radio Kwelaz’s property.

“In your search and seizure you produced a defective search warrant . . . purportedly issued in terms of Section 54(1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07),” Mutatu said.

“We must hasten to state that the said chapter does not exist in the said Act. We, therefore, suspect you are using an Act belonging to another jurisdiction.”

Mutatu said although he protested the “illegal” search warrant, he was not able to physically stop the eight-member police team who stormed the radio initiative’s offices in the company of three Central Intelligence Organisation operatives.

Police raided Radio Kwelaz offices on June 17 on suspicion that the community radio initiative was broadcasting illegally and had subversive material in its possession.

They seized laptops and compact discs and blocked Radio Kwelaz staff from accessing the studio until the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) had ascertained if the studio equipment was being used for broadcasting.

A three-member team comprising technicians from Potraz and BAZ visited the studio yesterday morning to conduct investigations and later allowed Radio Kwelaz staff to resume work after realising that the initiative was not carrying out any broadcasting activities.

“They have allowed us to go ahead and use our facilities after correctly observing that there is no broadcasting going on. In short, this was an exercise in futility and aimed at intimidating our clients,” Mutatu said.