HARARE – A High Court judge on Thursday told of his frustration with Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s lawyer, accusing him of badly advising the former army general in his divorce battle with ex-model, Marry Mubaiwa.
Justice Pisirai Kwenda lost his rag with senior lawyer Wilson Manase after learning that Chiwenga was in possession of Mubaiwa’s diplomatic passport, despite Manase’s claims in court that it was Mubaiwa who was concealing it.
The hearing on Thursday was part of proceedings in an application brought by the prosecution to vary Mubaiwa’s bail conditions after she was arrested on December 14 last year, and freed after over two weeks in remand prison, on charges of money laundering, fraud and the attempted murder of Chiwenga last July.
Apart from being required to surrender her passport, Mubaiwa was also required to reside at the matrimonial home in Borrowdale.
But Chiwenga blocked access to the property, insisting that his life was in danger. He also asked the court to revoke Mubaiwa’s bail, claiming that she had concealed the fact that she had three passports.
Turning the tables, Mubaiwa’s lawyers said Chiwenga was in fact holding onto one of the passports he now claimed Marry had in her possession.
On Tuesday, ahead of Thursday’s hearing, Mubaiwa said she received a call from Chiwenga’s office, advising her that someone would deliver a parcel.
That parcel, which Mubaiwa said should be handed over to her aides in her absence, was her diplomatic passport and those of two of the couple’s three children. She refused to take the passports, her lawyers said because Chiwenga was attempting to conceal that he had the passport all along.
After prosecutor Sharon Fero admitted that Chiwenga was in possession of the passport and had agreed to surrender it before midday, Justice Kwenda remarked: “A client always needs correct advice, and I want to place on record my frustration in the manner the complainant’s (Chiwenga’s) legal practitioners have handled this matter.
“All the time they were in denial that the complainant is the one in possession of the accused’s passport, yet they knew this was incorrect.
“Clearly, the conduct is discouraging especially considering that the lawyer is a senior centre court officer.
“I just thought I should put it on record, especially now that there is evidence that the complainant tried to hand back the passport directly to the accused.”
Mubaiwa told court that she informed her lawyers about the attempts to deliver a passport to her, who in turn wrote to Manase complaining about the conduct of his client.
However, Manase went on to offense against Mtetwa and Mubaiwa.
He wrote back, stating: “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.
“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 passports.”
Manase told Mtetwa that Mubaiwa should simply surrender her passport and stop trying to soil Chiwenga’s name.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Fero insisted that Mubaiwa should continue residing at her parents’ residence in Glen Lorne until the end of her trial.
But Mtetwa said she would only delay going back to the matrimonial home pending Chiwenga’s Supreme Court appeal against a High Court ruling last week ordering him to release the minor children into his wife’s custody and to allow her unfettered access to their properties.
Mubaiwa, meanwhile, has also filled for execution of Justice Christopher Dube Banda’s judgment pending hearing of the appeal.
Mtetwa said Mubaiwa will go back home if her application is upheld.
Judgment on Chiwenga’s application for variation of bail conditions will be delivered next Tuesday.