‘Russian’ national faces re-trial




Lawyers in Court

HARARE – An alleged Russian national accused of using fake documents to apply for a Zimbabwean passport is facing re-trial after the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) yesterday struck off the roll his application in which he is challenging the re-opening of the State case.

Steven Paul Sugden — through his lawyers Thabani Mpofu, Admire Rubaya and Oliver Marwa — had approached the Con-Court seeking to stop the re-opening of the State case to lead more evidence in the matter.

However, the Con-Court bench struck the matter off the roll on a technicality, claiming the application did not comply with the rules of the court.

“We wish there would have been a way to interpret Rule 16 in a different way…the matter is struck off the roll with no order as to costs,” Justice Paddington Garwe, who led the Con-Court bench, said.

The current application had been made after prosecutors sought to re-open the matter and lead more evidence from witnesses after the closure of the State case.

This also followed the dismissal of Sudgen’s application for discharge.

Sugden went on to apply for an application for review before the High Court, in a matter in which ruling was reserved. But before a ruling was made, the State was ordered to re-open its case by the judge president George Chiweshe in separate proceedings.

“It was also argued that the magistrate is functus officio and could not unless the review application had failed deal with the matter. It was in this connection argued that the court had already found that there is a prima facie case against applicant.

“It could not in the face of that finding be asked to re-open the State’s case so that further evidence is led by the State as there are no degrees to the existence of a prima facie case. That process, it was argued, was designed to make the Magistrates’ Court review itself,” the court heard.

However, Edmore Makoto for the State, opposed the application, adding that the order for the re-opening of the State case was in order to buttress the evidence that has already been led in the matter.

Sugden is accused of using fake documents to apply for Zimbabwean passports in Bindura, and is facing fraud charges.

According to court papers, he processed a Zimbabwean birth certificate and a national identity card, which he used to obtain two passports bearing different names, allegations which he denied.

It is the State’s case that in April, 2012 Sugden made an application for a passport at the Registrar-General’s office in Bindura. It is alleged that he used a fake birth certificate with birth entry number GZI 266/74.

While applying for the same document, it is alleged Sugden also used a fake national identity card bearing registration number 70-0037720-F.

According to State papers,  acting on the misrepresentation, the Registrar General’s office issued him with a passport which is valid till 2022.

Using the same fake documents, sometime in December 2012, Sugden, the court heard, applied for another passport at the Registrar General’s office in Chinhoyi.

He was issued with a second passport bearing a different name, it is alleged. When the offence came to light, investigations by the police with the help of the RG’s office revealed that the birth entry number used by Sugden belonged to a woman called Sarudzai Kufa. – Daily News