State appeals Chivayo ruling

Wicknell Chivayo
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State prosecutors have filed a notice of appeal against businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo’s acquittal by the High Court in a $5,6 million fraud involving the Gwanda solar project.

Mr Chivayo and his company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, were last week cleared of all the corruption charges over the Zimbabwe Power Company’s Gwanda solar project.

Justice Owen Tagu ruled that Mr Chivayo and his company had no criminal case to answer as the dispute was contractual and warned that his prosecution could scare away investors.  The State on Thursday filed a notice for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court.

It is seeking to overturn the decision of the High Court arguing it has prospects of success on appeal.

Anti-Corruption Special Unit director Mr Tabani Mpofu confirmed that the prosecution has lodged its papers at the Supreme Court.

“We have filed a notice seeking leave to appeal at the Supreme Court,” he said referring The Herald to Ms Sharon Fero in the Prosecutor-General’s Office to avail a copy of the notice of appeal that sets out the grounds of appeal.

Ms Fero, however, referred this reporter to the trial prosecutor, Mr Zivanai Macharaga, who was not answering his mobile phone.

Justice Tagu in his judgment criticised the State for malicious prosecution of Mr Chivayo on a contractual dispute incapable at law of being resolved through the criminal justice system.

He said compelling a civil matter to be determined by the State through the criminal justice system was not only wrong but set a dangerous precedent if not tamed at its inception.

Justice Tagu added that if the courts allowed such prosecutions to occur in this country, no investor would open themselves to the extreme exigencies of having the fate of their investment determined by a criminal court.

Last year, Mr Chivayo won a $25 million lawsuit against the ZPC for bringing up malicious criminal charges of fraud against him and allegedly frustrating his firm from performing its obligations at the Gwanda Solar Power Project.

In his judgment, Justice Tawanda Chitapi said ZPC had acted unlawfully and in bad faith, possibly under external influence from parties who were not part of the contract.

Mr Chivayo claimed he lost his reputation and his corporate good standing was tarnished, and leading to certain business undertakings worldwide being either suspended or terminated. – Herald