ACTING Prosecutor-General Advocate Ray Goba has said criminal allegations against Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo were well-substantiated and urged the Constitutional Court to issue an order compelling him to appear before a magistrate in terms of the law within 24 hours to answer to the charges.
Prof Moyo, his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa and Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund finance director Nicholas Mapute, stand accused of abusing nearly $500 000 belonging to Zimdef.
Dr Gandawa and Mapute have since been placed on remand at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, but Prof Moyo filed an application at the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of his arrest.
Responding to Prof Moyo’s challenge, Adv Goba said his office had perused the docket prepared by the investigators and reached a conclusion that there was an “overwhelmingly reasonable suspicion” that the politician and his accomplices committed fraud, theft, money laundering and criminal abuse of office.
“Upon perusal and proper consideration, it was concluded that the allegations were well-substantiated. It was further considered that there was, on the facts, most of which have not been disputed by the applicant (Minister Moyo), an overwhelmingly reasonable suspicion that the crimes of fraud, theft, money laundering and abuse of office had been committed by the applicant, other perpetrators and socii criminii working as a syndicate or racket.
“The applicant personally benefited from the proceeds of fraudulent diversion of funds from Zimdef accounts, to accounts operated by Godfrey Gandawa, his deputy through a beneficially-owned company called Fuzzy Technologies and another belonging to an associate,” reads Adv Goba’s opposing affidavit.
To that end, Adv Goba urged the court to dismiss with costs the constitutional challenge by Minister Moyo and instead direct that he immediately surrenders himself to the investigators and appear before a magistrate to answer to the charges.
“The application should be dismissed with the contempt it richly deserves with costs on the higher scale and order that the applicant surrenders to the investigating officer for purposes of appearance before a magistrate within 24 hours of the order of this Honourable Court in accordance with due process,” said Adv Goba.
Adv Goba and his team of chief law officers also picked from the docket that Minister Moyo authorised various transactions in which Zimdef lost close to $500 million.
“The applicant, on several occasions, approved fraudulent transactions which authorised the release of funds to Fuzzy Technologies and was at the end among others, the recipient of some of the funds by way of cash loans and payments from goods such as bicycles and tricycles for chiefs and villagers in his Tsholotsho constituency and furniture, as well as for unverifiable services purportedly rendered by other persons.
“An amount of almost half a million United States dollars in public funds, a very substantial amount by any account is involved,” reads the affidavit.
Adv Goba denied ever directing the police to arrest Minister Moyo, but instead said he only directed the Police Commissioner-General to follow due process of the law and assist in the finalisation of investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
The Acting PG said Prof Moyo did not deserve to be treated differently from other suspects.
“In the premise, it is respectfully submitted that the principle of equality before the law and the right to equal protection and benefit of the law enshrined in Section 50 of the Constitution is sacrosanct and must be observed.
“The wheels of justice must be allowed to swiftly turn so that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done.
“I submit that applicant’s application is unprecedented, violates the equality clause under Section 50 of the Constitution, is premature and wholly devoid of merit,” he said.
Minister Moyo early this month approached the apex court a day after his release challenging the manner in which he was arrested by Zacc on allegations of abusing in excess of $400 000 Zimdef funds.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku suspended the arrest of Minister Moyo, who was being represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri instructed by Mr Terrence Hussein, with the consent of the State.
In his main application, Minister Moyo is questioning the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police.
He argues that Zacc does not in terms of the Constitution have the power to arrest and detain suspects.
He also argues that the PG does not in terms of the Constitution, have the power to order the police to arrest an individual.
He sought to stop his appearance in court, describing it as an illegality.
The investigating officer Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha, he argued, could not be part of Zacc and the police at the same time, while Mr Goba had no power to order his arrest.
The court directed the parties to file all the relevant papers by December 2 this year, before the Registrar of the Constitutional Court set the matter down for hearing before a full bench of the apex court.-Herald