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Ziweni challenges govt edict

Augustine Mukaro

HARARE lawyer Oscar Ziweni has filed a High Court application seeking a reversal of a government order to specify him.

rif”>Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is cited as the first respondent, specified Ziweni for his alleged role in the collapsed ENG asset management company.

Ziweni is also suing ENG Capital liquidator Reggie Saruchera and the Law Society of Zimbabwe. ENG collapsed earlier this year due to liquidity problems. Its directors, Gilbert Muponda and Nyasha Watyoka, were arrested in connection with alleged misuse of investor funds worth over $60 billion.

Ziweni wants the court to order the Law Society of Zimbabwe to carry out an investigation into his handling of the ENG case to see if there was any impropriety.

In a High Court application last month, Ziweni said Chinamasa did not apply his mind to the facts upon which the order to specify him was sought but simply followed what he was told by the ENG liquidator.

“The minister was misled about the propriety of specifying me and my firm and had he known the correct facts he would not have specified the applicant,” Ziweni said in his affidavit.

He said since he had not been an accomplice in the ENG case, in laundering, in fraud, in theft or in the commission of any offence, there was no basis for specifying him. He said the move was grossly unreasonable in the circumstances.

Ziweni said he was not given a chance to defend himself or notice prior to the specification order.

“The failure to give me the right to explain my innocence before specification is a breach of Section 18 (9) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and also in breach of the rules of natural justice,” he said.

“The specification without giving me a chance to explain my innocence is arbitrary, oppressive, and has caused me and others associated with me undue hardship.”

Ziweni said Chinamasa did not involve the Law Society of Zimbabwe to establish impropriety or misconduct in his handling of the ENG saga.

“In all the circumstances of the case my specification has no justification either on fact or at law and is unreasonable, irrational and unduly harsh and oppressive,” he said.

Ziweni said he was not given notice as to the intention of the order.

“I was surprised to read from the Herald newspaper on May 29 that I and my law firm had been specified in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act, together with several companies belonging to the ENG group of companies, as well as two ENG directors, Watyoka and Muponda,” he said.

“On pursuing the matter, I discovered that the specification had been published in the Government Gazette Extraordinary of May 28.”

Ziweni and his firm, Ziweni & Co Attorney Legal Practitioners, were specified in May together with his clients, Watyoka and Muponda of ENG.

Ziweni and one of the ENG directors, Muponda, are believed to have skipped the country, while Watyoka is still in Zimbabwe.

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