BY CHARLES LAITON

Local businessman Wicknell Chivayo, who is set to answer to US$10 000 bribery charges alongside his company Intratrek Zimbabwe, has approached the High Court seeking an order to stay the criminal trial proceedings pending a determination of his application for review.

According to Chivayo, he filed an application for review at the High Court after a Harare magistrate dismissed his application for exception to the bribery charges when the trial commenced in August this year. Apparently, he said the State had indicated its intention to proceed with the trial on October 28, 2019.

“This is an application for interim relief suspending the commencement of our criminal trial before the second respondent (magistrate one P Maturure Ncube) pending the review of the second respondent’s ruling dismissing our exception to criminal charges against us,” Chivayo said in his affidavit.

In the current application, Chivayo, Intratrek Zimbabwe and former Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board chairperson, Stanley Kazhanje, are cited as applicants, while Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi and magistrate one P Maturure Ncube are cited as respondents, respectively.

Kazhanje was this year tried and convicted on the same charge and sentenced to three years in jail for concealing a US$10 000 transaction with Chivayo’s company. He is, however, now out of custody on $1 000 bail pending appeal.

In his affidavit, Chivayo said Kazhanje has also moved for the quashing of the charges on the basis that the manner they were framed was contrary to law, adding “central to his (Kazhanje) motion was the failure of the State to indicate whether the US$10 000 was an inducement or reward”.

“I thereafter excepted to the charges together with the first applicant (Intratrek Zimbabwe). The third applicant (Kazhanje) similarly excepted to the charges. The basis for exceptions was that the facts alleged by the State as further particularised did not disclose an offence and, in the case of the third applicant’s further submissions, the charges had formal defects,” Chivayo said.

“Success for the first and second applicants (Intratrek and Chivayo) would be success for the third respondent as the cause of complaint went to the root of the matter. Equally, success for the third applicant would be success for the first and second applicants as the competence of the charge also founded the root of the proceedings.

“It will be noted that the second respondent in his decision, did not address his mind to the questions of whether the facts alleged disclosed the offences alleged or whether the charges were competently crafted.”

The matter is pending.