The Prosecutor General of Zimbabwe, Kumbirai Hodzi, has petitioned the High Court seeking an order to dismiss businessman, Tony Renato Sarpo’s review application accusing the latter of ‘trying to frustrate the due administration of justice’.
In an affidavit which was deposed on behalf of Hodzi by Edmore Makoto, the Prosecutor General argues that Sarpo is not desirous to prosecute his application for review and that this application was made as a way of trying to frustrate the due administration of justice.
“It is now more than 11 months after the application for review was filed and the first respondent (Sarpo) is not showing an urgency to expedite the matter for hearing. The main trial at the lower court was stayed pending the determination of the review application. It appears the first respondent is not desirous to prosecute his application for review and that the application was made as a way of trying to frustrate the due administration of justice,” he said.
The Prosecutor General said Sarpo filed an application for review under case number HC 8358/18 on 13 September 2018 then served him (Hodzi) and the presiding magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura.
He added that he (Hodzi) filed his notice of opposition and the opposing affidavit with the High Court on 27 December 2018 and served Sarpo on 11 January 2019. Thereafter, Sarpo filed his answering affidavit but did not set down the matter for hearing within a month as required by rules.
Sarpo had approached the High Court seeking a review of an application for discharge at the close of State case in a pending trial under case number CRB4035/17 at the criminal courts in which Sarpo is facing five counts of theft of trust property.
Magistrate Chitumbura had granted the application in respect of two counts and refused in respect of three counts which led Sarpo into petitioning the High Court to set aside the ruling by the magistrate and also discharge the matter at the close of the State’s case.
In this matter, Sarpo is accused of converting company funds, vehicles and motor bikes to his personal use.
Pending the determination by the High Court on the review application, Sarpo also approached the same court on urgent bases under case number HC9310/19 and HC1641/20 respectively, seeking an order for stay of prosecution in eight pending criminal matters in which he is being sued by Matebeleland Engineering (Pvt) Ltd.
In both applications, Sarpo cited Matebeleland Engineering (Pvt) Ltd, Wayne Williams, Officer in Charge Rhodesville Police station, the Prosecutor General, the Minister of Home affairs and the Commissioner General in their official capacities as respondents respectively.
Sarpo filed the same founding affidavit in both applications and said:
“The applicant (Sarpo) seeks in the interim an order that is two-fold. First an order for stay of prosecution in matters that are indicated in the draft order to the application for the reason that the same are meant to harass and abuse the applicant thereby infracting his constitutionally established right to liberty and dignity. Secondly, an order that bars the Rhodesvile Police Station or any other police station from arresting thee applicant o allegations brought by Matebeleland Engineering (Pvt) Ltd and Wayne Williams and emanating from applicant’s relationship with Wayne Williams a co-shareholders in Matebeleland Engenerring (Pvt) Ltd,” he said.
In a judgement which was handed down by Justice Owen Tagu in respect of this application, it was highlighted that the relief sought is incompetent as the High Court cannot interfere with matters pending in other courts.
“Matter not urgent more so in that several cases were reported long back, relief sought is incompetent as this court cannot interfere with matters pending in other courts, this court cannot give a license that applicant should not be arrested in future if he commits a criminal offence,” read part of the order.
In another matter, Sarpo was on 21 December last year convicted by Harare magistrate, Nyasha Lee Vitorini of breaching a trust agreement between Matebeleland Engineering (Pvt) Ltd and himself after he sold a motor vehicle belonging to the company.
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment of which six months are suspended for three years on condition accused (Sarpo) does not within that period commit any offence involving dishonesty for which he would be sentenced to prison without the option of a fine.
The remaining six months were suspended on condition accused (Sarpo) completes 210 hours of community service at Z.R.P. Morris Deport.