High Court dismisses Kamambo’s bid for freedom

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By Sports Reporter

SUSPENDED ZIFA president Felton Kamambo’s bid to have his bribery charges quashed has suffered a blow following a High Court ruling that he must stand trial over the matter.

The Zifa boss, whose dispute with the Sports and Recreation Commission has resulted in the country being banned from international for over a year by FIFA, is accused of bribing his way to the office.

Kamambo was elected ZIFA president after upstaging the then-incumbent Philip Chiyangwa in December 2018.

Over the last three years, Kamambo has been battling to clear his name in the long-dragging bribery case.

Kamambo had sought the intervention of the High Court after the Magistrates Court had rejected his application for discharge at the end of the State’s case. Kamambo has now been put to his defense.

However, High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero, with the concurrence of Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, on Friday dismissed Kamambo’s appeal against a case that was before Harare Regional magistrate Bianca Makwande.

Justice Chikowero ordered Kamambo returns to the magistrates’ court to stand trial.

“We are satisfied that at the heart of this application lies the contention that the trial court was wrong in not discharging the applicant at the close of the case for the prosecution.

“The applicant urges us to interfere in the uncompleted proceedings of the trial court by exercising our review powers to set aside the interlocutory decision and to, ourselves, discharge him,’’ read part of the five-page judgment.

In dismissing Kamambo’s application, Justice Chikowero also cited a previous ruling by the Supreme Court, which noted: “The general rule is that a superior court should interfere in uncompleted proceedings of the lower courts only in exceptional circumstances of proven gross irregularity vitiating the proceedings and giving rise to a miscarriage of justice, which cannot be redressed by any other means or where the interlocutory decision is clearly wrong as to seriously prejudice the rights of the litigant.”

“We understand the law to be that even if an interlocutory decision is grossly irregular, a superior court must still not interfere unless the decision vitiates the proceedings irreparably.

“If that decision can lose its impact in the course of those ongoing proceedings, a superior court will not interfere before the proceedings are finalised,” Justice Chikowero said.

The High Court also noted that Kamambo could still appeal to a superior court for a review should he be convicted, following a full trial. “Since the onus lies on the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, the arguments that he relies on to argue the interlocutory decision is wrong, on the evidence, may still be relied on by him to challenge the main judgment of the court below, should he be convicted.

“We take this view because the applicant’s grounds for review raise the sole contention that the court below grossly misdirected itself at law, and in fact, in dismissing his application.”

Whether the trial will resume immediately is another matter given Kamambo’s history of seeking postponement after postponement in this matter using a litany of excuses.