Dinha given green light to contest extortion allegations at ConCourt

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister, Martin Dinha has been granted permission to appeal his extortion trial at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) .

High Court judge, Happias Zhou said the Zanu PF official’s trial should also stop and wait for the outcome of Con-Court proceedings.

Dinha, who is also the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairperson, allegedly demanded $60 000 from Guy Frank Dollar as protection fee against eviction from Tsoro Farm in Centenary area in 2013.

“…If Dinha’s rights as enshrined in Section 69 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe have been or would be violated, the trial proceedings should be stayed pending proceedings to have the documents in question declassified.

“Applicant made a request for the documents on the first day the trial was due to commence,” Justice Zhou said.

The Judge added: “He provided the list of the documents and in some instances the dates thereof. State submitted that the applicant has done very little to ensure that he secures the declassification of those documents.

“The court accepts the validity of that submission. However, the applicant tardiness in seeking enforcement of his rights is a separate matter from his request to appeal at the ConCourt.”

Initially, Zhou dismissed Dinha’s application to have trial postponed until he obtains certain documents which are protected by the Official Secrets Act.

That was back in 2015.

Dinha insisted that until the documents are declassified, he could not use them in his defence.

He also raised constitutional rights issues arguing that his right to a fair trial were infringed after the judge ordered his trial to go ahead without him being given the critical documents for his defence.

Dinha is being charged for criminal abuse of office, or alternatively, bribery.

He is also facing money laundering charges.

The Bindura based lawyer was indicted for trial at the High Court on August 31, 2015 but is yet to stand trial.

According to the State, between 2012 and March 28, 2013, Dollar faced problems with new farmers allocated A2 plots on Tsoro Farm which was subdivided into several plots allocated to several beneficiaries in June 2012.

Dinha allegedly demanded $60 000 bribe for him to save and protect him.