Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Senior regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya yesterday fumed over the delays in the commencement of businessman Wicknel Chivayo’s trial, which has been postponed since July 16 due to endless applications.
Mujaya said this in the latest application for postponement by Chivayo and his alleged accomplice Stanley Kazhanje’s lawyers Advocates Sylvester Hashiti and Lewis Uriri who was represented by Wilson Manase.
“Trial was supposed to start mid-July, on the 16th to be precise, and I agree with the prosecutor that the defence is lackadaisical in its approach in the mater.
“They are even going too far by suggesting dates on which the matters should be heard, taking over the job of the State.
“They should let the State do its job and get ready for trial,” said Magistrate Mujaya.
In seeking the postponement, Kazhanje’s lawyer, Advocate Hashiti said he was waiting for the determination of a review of their application for further particulars which was dismissed by regional magistrate Christopher Maturure in the last hearings, and as such, they hadn’t prepared a sufficient defence outline.
However, Hashiti didn’t have an order from the superior court staying proceedings in the lower court.
“This application stops proceedings without an order because once a superior court is seized with a matter that’s in the magistrate’s court, the superior court takes precedence especially when the propriety of the matter is compromised; there’s no meaningful reason why our application should be opposed.
“There’s no prejudice suffered by the State if it allows the High Court to finalise, we don’t have sufficient documents required to craft our defence so there’s no way we can be ready for trial today,” said Advocate Hashiti.
Manase also sought for a postponement informing the court that Uriri wasn’t available and was out of the country so trial couldn’t kick off as he is Chivayo’s counsel of choice.
Representing the State, special unit prosecutor Brian Vito opposed the application arguing that the State now faces the risk of never commencing trial if the two advocates are granted their postponement at each instance.
“It’s Chivayo’s right to be represented by a lawyer of his choice, but it’s not an absolute right, he can look for another lawyer or represent himself so he can be given a week to look for alternative representation,” said Vito.
The matter was remanded to January 12.
Vito is alleging that Kazhanje as the ZPC board chairman received $10 000 bribe from Chivayo that influenced him to make a decision that his company Intratek get the Gwanda Solar Project tender even though he didn’t have a bank guarantee as required by the law.