Judge raps Chiwenga lawyers
HIGH Court judge Pisirayi Kwenda has rapped Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s lawyers for misleading the politician in an application in which the State has secured his estranged wife Marry’s consent to temporarily leave the Borrowdale Brooke matrimonial home.
Marry — who is facing fraud, attempted murder, externalisation and money laundering charges — is out of custody on $50 000 bail. She was barred by Chiwenga, through the army, from accessing their matrimonial home, number 614 Nick Price Drive, Borrowdale Brooke, Harare, soon after she was released from remand prison.
The High Court, however, allowed her to access the matrimonial home, through an order she now wants executed pending the hearing of a Supreme Court appeal filed by Chiwenga.
The back and forth litigation has seen the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) filing an application seeking to alter Marry’s bail conditions, arguing that she could not stay at the same house with Chiwenga, who is a State witness in the attempted murder charge.
Among the demands by the State was for Marry to provide an alternative address and surrender her second passport.
However, Kwenda yesterday expressed his frustration at the conduct by Chiwenga’s lawyers, Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, after they wrote a letter to Marry’s lawyers, Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners, denying that their client was in possession of his estranged wife’s passport.
But yesterday prosecutor Sharon Fero confirmed in court that they had managed to establish, through Chiwenga’s lawyers, that the passport was with the vice president.
“I must place on record my frustration on how the complainant’s legal practitioners handled this matter. They denied persistently that their client was in possession of the passport,” Kwenda said, adding that the lawyers acted in a manner not expected of an officer of the court. Such conduct must be discouraged,” he said, further stating the importance of giving proper advice to clients by legal practitioners.
Meanwhile, Marry through her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, agreed to temporarily live with her mother at number 64 Folyjon Crescent, Glen Lorne, Harare, as an alternative address.
Mtetwa said Marry had been in legal occupation of the matrimonial home and had a right to stay at the property, adding that the temporary arrangement had been necessitated by Chiwenga’s actions after he forcefully removed her from the property. She further said that her client should not be prejudiced as investigations in the matter have not yet been completed, meaning her client could lose her right to stay at the property for a long time.
Mtetwa, however, said the court ruling must be given as a temporary order pending the hearing of the Supreme Court appeal by Chiwenga and Marry’s application for execution pending the appeal.
Fero, who appeared with Albert Masamha, challenged the proposition, demanding the order for Marry to reside in Glen Lorne to be in force until the finalisation of the attempted murder charges. Kwenda, however, said judgment in the matter will be handed down next Tuesday.
In her court papers, Marry claimed Chiwenga had not been living at the matrimonial property since he returned from China where he had been receiving medical treatment.
She also said the State should have noticed in the first place that she was living at the same place as Chiwenga, even though he was not physically staying at the property. She said the issue of residence was never raised during the initial bail hearing.
“If it deliberately failed to make such basic enquiries and make the necessary disclosures to the bail court, this cannot now be used to render respondent a person of no fixed abode,” she said. She said Chiwenga is the one who should find an alternative place to stay, as she was entitled to stay at the matrimonial home.