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Hodzi refuses to nail Mthuli Ncube





PROSECUTOR-GENERAL (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi has said allegations raised by civil society leader and activist Mfundo Mlilo against Finance minister Mthuli Ncube were not sufficient enough for him to prosecute the head of Treasury.

Hodzi said this in an affidavit filed before the High Court through his subordinate Justin Uladi.

Mlilo approached the High Court seeking Ncube's prosecution over alleged criminal conduct which has negatively affected the country's economy.

Uladi, however, said from Mlilo's affidavit, it was clear that he did not have any information or evidence to back up his allegations and enable the PG to prosecute.

"Upon consideration of the content of the affidavit, it became apparent that it is devoid of what is requisite for the Prosecutor-General to make the decision which applicant (Mlilo) was calling upon him to make.

"There are no witness statements or any documentary exhibits to go together with the charges or the outline of the prosecution case.

"I point out that the failure by applicant to avail information and evidence leaves the PG unable, based on the letter and affidavit, to make head or tail of the allegations and or complaints.

"He is especially unable to say whether or not he would be able to prosecute the second respondent (Ncube) based on those documents.

"The information the applicant gave us is not sufficient for a decision to prosecute or to decline to do so. Given the circumstances of this matter, the kind of relief sought would see the prosecutor-general plucking a decision out of the air," Uladi said.

Ncube, on the other hand, said that he was not supposed to be prosecuted on any of the allegations.

"Applicant ought to have made a formal report to the police to which after being furnished with a docket consisting of statements or affidavits, first respondent (PG) would have declined to prosecute at the public instance in terms of Subsection (1) of Section 16.

"To that end, the police would have investigated any breach of law or the alleged criminal abuse of office alleged to have been committed by myself.

"As the duty to investigate is vested in the commissioner-general of police, it is incompetent and premature for the applicant to approach this honourable court to seek an order against first respondent for him to issue a certificate of private prosecution in a matter that has not been reported and investigated by the police," Ncube said.

In his application, Mlilo said Hodzi had ignored his request to have Mthuli prosecuted and must therefore be issued with a certificate for private prosecution.

"This application seeks to enforce compliance by first respondent (Hodzi) with his obligations set at law.

"In particular, I seek the following relief: an order declaring that first respondent has by virtue of his failure to make a decision on whether or not he is going to prosecute second respondent (Ncube) at the public instance, pursuant to a complaint that I placed before him, violated the law," Mlilo said.

He further sought an order declaring that Hodzi's failure to respond to his request should be deemed a refusal to prosecute and that he should issue a certificate for private prosecution.

He said among some of the charges Ncube should be charged with include criminal abuse of duty as a public officer emanating from his October 2018 policy to introduce a two percent tax on electronic transactions above $10.

He further said Ncube also abused his power when he purportedly appointed William Mutumanje aka Acie Lumumba as chairperson of the Finance ministry communications taskforce without going to tender. Mlilo also demanded Ncube to be charged with four counts of fraud involving various initiatives under his ministry.

"I submit that there is a clear reasonable suspicion of the second respondent having committed criminal misconduct in a manner that has affronted my rights. I go so far as contending that a prima facie case is made out on the papers," he said.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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