Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi was yesterday summoned to appear before a Harare magistrate to explain his decision to stop the trial of a Harare man who allegedly used high-profile people’s names to swindle unsuspecting clients of various amounts of money.
Leon Gomani (29) is facing more than 20 counts of fraud and the matter is already on defence after magistrate Morgan Nemadire dismissed his application for discharge.
But in a surprise turn of events, the State, represented by Sheila Mupindu, asked for the matter to be stopped for three weeks, saying she had allegedly received a communiqué from Hodzi.
In the case, Judicial Service Commission secretary Walter Chikwana and Zanu-PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa testified as their names were the ones used to swindle several people.
Former Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Chief Justice Luke Malaba were also expected to testify in the matter.
However, Nemadire asked the State the law they were using to stop proceedings that had already been on defence, upon which Mupindu replied that it was by request from the PG.
Nemadire stood down the matter and asked Mupindu to call Hodzi to come and testify on the law he was using, but Hodzi failed to appear at around 11am.
“I want the PG to come down and address me on reasons why this matter is being postponed. If he is withdrawing, he should just say so. I will not pass the ruling of the postponement unless he comes because I can sense corruption in this matter,” Nemadire said.
The magistrate then stood down the matter again to 2pm, but Hodzi failed to appear. Senior prosecutor Clemence Chimbari then came and addressed the court, saying Hodzi was no longer coming.
Chimbari told the court that Hodzi had said the matter be stopped for three weeks so that he could look into the issues of complaints into the matter.
He was, however, asked to read in court sections of the law which stipulate that the PG could stop proceedings after an accused had pleaded not guilty.
When pressured by Nemadire to explain, Chimbari said it was just a request by the PG to stop the trial for three weeks.
“What is the legal basis of stopping a matter that is already at defence case? This is now not a State’s case; you closed your case and it is now the accused’s time to explain,” Nemadire charged.
“We do court applications in terms of the law. The PG cannot stop these proceedings at this stage. Tell the PG to come tomorrow. He cannot just receive a complaint from somebody else out there and decide to stop a trial.
“Tell him to come to court tomorrow (today) at 9am without fail. Also, tell him the court is not happy at all. I want him here and I expect him to explain his decision,” Nemadire fumed.
He then adjourned the proceedings to today.