By Mary Taruvinga
HIGH Court judge, Pisirai Kwenda has voiced his disappointment over the manner in which Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s lawyer, Wilson Manase, was “misleading” his client after it emerged in court Thursday that the VP was in possession of his wife’s diplomatic passport.
A veteran lawyer, Manase and Chiwenga, had over the past two weeks, denied that the VP was in possession of a passport that Marry Mubaiwa had to surrender to the Clerk of Court.
However, it emerged in court today that the passport was in possession of Chiwenga, drawing the ire of Kwenda who accused Manase of improperly advising and exposing the former army general.
Prosecutor Sharon Fero also admitted Chiwenga was in possession of his wife’s passport.
For the past two weeks, Chiwenga, through Manase, had denied before the same judge that he was in possession of the passport insisting that Marry’s bail conditions should be revoked so she could be sent back to remand prison as she was in possession of a passport.
In court Thursday, Marry produced pictorial evidence showing a foiled attempt by Chiwenga’s driver trying to drop the passport with Marry at her offices.
After the foiled attempt, Marry’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, wrote to Manase registering her displeasure, but an angry Manase accused Mtetwa of trying to soil Chiwenga’s image.
Mtetwa produced a letter dated January 28 2020 in which Manase denied that Chiwenga was in charge of the passport.
“We refer to your letter of January 28 2020. Please be advised that our client is not a party to the pleadings before the bail court and any attempts to draw us into a mud fight are taken with great exception,” Manase said.
“With respect this attempt to self-create a set of facts to justify your intended course of action is futile in the circumstances. Surely, your client is the custodian of all her passport. The same way she surrendered one of the passports is the same way she must surrender the remaining passports. She has always been in the custody of her documents.
“In an effort to prevent any further mudsliding, side shows and drama which clearly you and your client have been enjoying our client shall not be engaging in any further correspondence of this nature,” he said.
In a supplementary affidavit, Marry said on January 28 2020 she received a phone call from mobile number 0773 159 917, a mobile phone from the Office of the President and Cabinet in Chiwenga’s office. The caller was Chiwenga’s driver called Jenya.
Marry said Jenya told her that he was in possession of a parcel that he wanted to deliver at her office but could not disclose what it was. She then requested that they meet at a public space not in her office.
Jenya arrived driving a Range Rover registration number AFE 5378, which is one of the vehicles used by VP Chiwenga.
Mubaiwa said Jenya then gave her employees three passports, one in her name, two belonging to her elder children.
She said her employees called telling her they had been given some passports after which she declined to accept them.
She then called her lawyers and told them of the incident before they wrote to Manase.
When the case was heard Thursday, Prosecutor Fero said: “The complainant’s legal practitioners (Manase and Manase) have confirmed that passport AD 005759 is at the complainant’s office. We requested for it to be brought forward and the lawyers said it will be delivered today before 12 midday.”
In response, Justice Kwenda said he was frustrated over how Manase was handling the matter.
“I want to place on record my frustration in the manner the complainant’s legal practitioners have handled this matter. They persisted with the denial that the complainant was in possession of the accused’s passport in very strong words yet they now admit,” said Kwenda.
“Clearly this conduct is discouraging for court officer of his calibre. A client always needs correct advice. I have no problem with the complainant but my complaint will be against his lawyer who is failing to handle this case properly,” the judge said.
Chiwenga wants Mubaiwa to surrender all her passports with the Clerk of Court as part of her bail conditions.
Initially, she surrendered one passport before Chiwenga raised concern that she might abscond since she is in possession of two more passports.
The Vice President also wants his wife to be barred from returning to their matrimonial home arguing she will likely interfere with him, a key witness in her attempted murder case.
The case was postponed to next Tuesday for ruling.