Supreme Court in landmark ruling, issues ultimatum to Tomana

Prosecutor-General, Johannes Tomana, was today given a five day period by the Supreme Court within which he is supposed to issue a certificate that would allow for the private prosecution of Telecel shareholder, Jane Mutasa.

Prosecutor-General, Johannes Tomana
Prosecutor-General, Johannes Tomana

The development marks a landmark ruling that would allow for private prosecution in the country.

Mutasa, was arrested sometime in 2010 together with Telecel’s Commercial Director, Naguib Omar, on allegations of swindling the firm of more than $1,7 million in airtime cards.

However, Tomana had contended there was lack of evidence against Mutasa and therefore, prosecution could not go ahead.

Last year, the High Court threw out Telecel’s application for a certificate of private prosecution saying a private company could not carry out its own prosecution.

The development prompted the mobile phone company to make another appeal with the Supreme Court.

Today the appeal was heard before Justices, Bharat Patel, Vernanda Ziyambi and Paddington Garwe. Telecel’s lawyer, Isiah Mureriwa, of Scanlen and Holderness confirmed the development to The Zimbabwean.

“The ruling was in three parts. Firstly, it means that a private company can now institute private prosecution under Zimbabwean law. Secondly, the Prosecutor General’s office is supposed to issue a certificate of private prosecution and also pay the costs. It was a ruling that was unanimously agreed to by all the judges,” said Mureriwa.

A private prosecution is started by a private individual or entity that is not acting on behalf of the police or any other prosecuting authority.

It is also referred to as a safeguard against the failure or refusal by the authorities to prosecute offenders. This implies that the Prosecutor General’s office might have unacceptably failed to deal with the Telecel case.

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