Chivayo challenges appeal by the state in $5,6 million fraud case

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By Mary Taruvinga

CONTROVERSIAL businessman, Wicknell Chivayo is seeking the court’s intervention after the state appealed at the Supreme Court against his acquittal in a $5, 6 million fraud case.

Chivayo contends the appeal was irregular as it was done outside the law.

“The applicants seek the rectification of the record of appeal by the inclusion of documents that the learned (High Court) judge had regard to by reference to related matters. It is important that such documents be part of the record,” said Chivayo through his lawyers.

The applicants in the court application include Chivayo and his company Intratrek Zimbabwe (Private) Limited while Prosecutor General, Kumbirai Hodzi and Harare magistrate, Lazini Ncube are cited as respondents.

The businessman also argued that the record of appeal was forwarded to the court without his affirmation as required by the law triggering queries from High Court judge, Esther Charehwa.

He said all the documents in his case were now in the public domain.

Through the High Court registrar, Charewa, questioned if the documents Chivayo was referring to were not in the public domain.

“Are the documents sought to be included in the appeal record not part of court records which are already in the public domain which the Supreme Court or any other court is entitled to make reference to? If not, were they documents before the court a quo?”

Chivayo is yet to respond.

Registrars of the High Court and the Supreme Court are cited as interested parties to the matter.

The state appealed against the ruling by High Court judge Owen Tagu who on March 20 last year acquitted the Intratek Zimbabwe and Chivayo of all the corruption charges over the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)’s Gwanda solar project.

Tagu ruled that the facts preferred by the State did not disclose an offence.

He ruled that Chivayo and his company had no criminal case to answer to as the dispute was contractual and warned that his prosecution could scare away investors.

The judge also ruled that compelling a civil matter to be determined by the State through the criminal justice system was not only wrong but set a dangerous precedent if not tamed at its inception.

The state then filed an appeal at the Supreme Court claiming Tagu had misdirected himself in handing down the judgements.

Chivayo also won a $25 million lawsuit against ZPC in 2018 for bringing up criminal charges of fraud against him and allegedly frustrating his firm from performing its obligations in the Gwanda Solar Power Project.

High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi said ZPC had acted unlawfully and in bad faith, possibly under external influence from parties who were not part of the contract.