Suspended Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana had his property attached over legal costs to the tune of $28 000. The costs were accrued from court cases which Mr Tomana lost last year when he was battling to block the setting up of a tribunal to determine his suitability to continue holding the office.
Suspended Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana was arrested today as he was leaving the Harare Magistrates Court where he was appearing on charges of criminal abuse of office as a public officer. At the same time, a group of anti-government protestors who were arrested on Wednesday were arraigned before the courts on allegations of public violence.
The prosecutor general was arrested by officers from the Law and Order Section. Before his arrest, magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe had recused himself in a matter in which the suspended prosecutor general is being accused of criminally abusing his office when he released suspects, who allegedly plotted to bomb Gushungo Dairies, a multi-million dollar business venture owned by President Robert Mugabe’s family.
Tomana’s attorney, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, confirmed the magistrate’s recusal and his client’s subsequent arrest. At the time of going to air, Mpofu was still attending to Tomana at the Harare Central Police Station and could not confirm the fresh charges the police have preferred against the suspended prosecutor general. Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was yet to be briefed on the latest development. Meanwhile, 24 anti-government protestors, who were arrested in Harare’s Marimba and Mufakose high density suburbs during the national job stay-away held on Wednesday, were arraigned before a Mbare magistrate facing charges of public violence. They were ordered to return to court for the determination of their bail application.
At the same time, magistrate Chikwekwe granted bail to 104 protestors facing public violence charges who were arrested in Mabvuku and Epworth while demonstrating against increased police road-blocks. Among them are four minor children who were released into the custody of their parents.
One of the defense lawyers, Obey Shava, confirmed this development. Shava said even though his clients were granted bail, they cannot raise a total of $10,000 that is required before they are released. In a related development, social media is awash with messages calling for a march to State House tomorrow. Police are still maintaining a heavy presence in the capital following Wednesday’s nationwide stay-away.
Suspended Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana was arrested as he was leaving the Harare Magistrates Court where he was appearing on charges of criminal abuse of office as a public officer.
In the spirited attempts to stop the disciplinary proceedings, Mr Tomana cited the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) as a respondent.
JSC lawyers, Kantor and Immerman, last month obtained a writ of execution before instructing the Sheriff of the High Court to attach property.
After the attachment of property, Mr Tomana through his lawyers Mambosasa Legal Practice, filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to stop the removal of the property which had been set for yesterday.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu successfully argued for the temporal stay of execution pending determination on whether or not the PG should lose his property.
Justice Herbert Chitapi on Wednesday evening temporarily stopped the removal of the property pending determination of the dispute today. The property was attached at Mr Tomana’s residence in Glen Lorne on January 23 this year.
The property under attachment includes:
A Toyota Prado (AEB 1142)
Mercedes Benz (ABE 4686)
LG plasma television sets x2
Sofas (two sets)
Dining table and eight chairs
Washing machines x3
In the pending High Court urgent chamber application, Mr Tomana said JSC lawyers had assured him that he would not meet the payment of costs.
Surprisingly, Mr Tomana said he was ambushed with a writ of execution and subsequent attachment of property as he was never given an opportunity to pay the debt.
“If first respondent’s position (JSC) is that it wants to enforce its costs order, it must tell me, give me time to pay and that will be the end of the matter.
“What is unacceptable with respect, is for first respondent to tell me that it will not enforce the costs order, then turn around at a time that I am supposed to be testifying in defence of my job.
“The clear intention is to unhinge me. Execution carried out under such circumstances cannot be lawful,” he said.
He said everything that his family owns was attached and that the court should intervene and stay execution.
Mr Tomana argued that the writ of execution and notice of seizure and attachment were illegal. “The writ does not relate to sums of money procured under HC1913/ 16. It creates obligations that are not anointed by the parent judgment.
“The notice was not served on myself personally, neither was I granted the rights under Rule 355, which include an opportunity to satisfy the judgment or sums claimed.
“The failure to effect personal service affects computation of the 48 hours within which the removal can be conducted, as such can only commence to run upon my knowledge of the same,” said Mr Tomana.
He said no inventory or valuation report was attached to the notice of attachment, giving an indication that the Sherriff acted unlawfully.
Mr Tomana described the execution as a tainted process and an abuse of the law. The High Court will today determine whether or not Mr Tomana should lose the property. The Herald