IN what could be the biggest civil suit in the country’s history, High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza is suing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and government for $500 million in damages suffe
red when he was unlawfully arrested on corruption charges in February.
Paradza challenged the constitutionality of his arrest in the Supreme Court, which this week ruled that the arrest was unlawful and unnecessary.
His lawyer Jonathan Samkange yesterday confirmed his client was suing for damages. Summons should be delivered to the respondents next week, he said.
“Yes, I can confirm that I am issuing summons against all the respondents in the constitutional case for damages because the court said the arrest was unlawful,” he said.
In his Supreme Court application, Paradza said his arrest was unprocedural. He accused Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe of allowing his arrest thereby compromising the independence of the judiciary.
He said the two senior judges had allowed this to happen because they did not want to cross paths with the executive.
Samkange could not provide details on how much his client was demanding in the lawsuit but the Zimbabwe Independent has it on good authority that the amount is around $500 million.
The respondents are Chinama-sa, Police Commissioner Augu-stine Chihuri, former Attorney-General Andrew Chigovera, ma-gistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, and senior police officer Chief Superintendent Nyathi who was the arresting officer.
Samkange said Nyathi was being sued in his personal capacity for effecting the unlawful arrest.
“Supt Nyathi is being sued in his personal capacity because he obeyed an unlawful instruction,” said Samkange.
Paradza was arrested in his chambers on charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice and appeared before Guvamombe who remanded him out of custody on $20 000 bail.
He faced an alternative charge of trying to persuade Justices Maphios Cheda and George Chiweshe to breach a section of the Prevention of Corruption Act.