THE High Court has set aside the cancellation of a warrant of arrest for South Africa-based controversial businessperson Frank Buyanga Sadiqi.
The ruling was made after the court initiated an automatic review process after Harare Magistrate Judith Taruvinga cancelled the Interpol warrant of arrest issued on Buyanga. The National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe has also filed for a review of Taruvinga’s judgment annulling the warrant earlier this month.
High Court judges Justices Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero ruled that Taruvinga grossly misdirected herself in her judgment.
“In a masterstroke, she overturned two judgments of the superior courts ... She failed to appreciate the difference between the procedure of setting aside an irregular proceeding and cancellation of an order,” the judges ruled.
“An irregular proceeding is a proceeding contrary to the law and is, thus, a nullity. Such a proceeding is a money event in the eyes of the law. It cannot be cancelled. It can only be set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction. When the magistrate thought she was merely cancelling a warrant of arrest, she was in fact setting aside her previous order thereby reviewing her own work. She had no jurisdiction to do so. She had become a functus officio.”
Functus officio refers to an officer or agency whose mandate has expired, due to either the arrival of an expiry date or an agency having accomplished the purpose for which it was created.
Justice Kwenda complained of harassment by Buyanga’s lawyers.
He said: “I could have reviewed the proceedings and if need be, obtained concurrence from another judge, peacefully in the comfort of my chambers. All hell broke loose when I decided to and did invite the legal practitioners who represented Frank Buyanga Sadiqi and the State in their capacity as officers of the court, to assist me with the legal issues which I had identified.
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“As soon as they arrived, Frank Buyanga Sadiqi’s legal practitioners, three in number, ganged up against me and presented a furious argument aimed at ejecting me from the review process, accusing me of bias. If it was up to me and not a call of duty, I would have resolved never to do it again.”
Buyanga was arrested in South Africa on November 10, 2022 on charges of child trafficking, immigration law violations, forgery and contempt of court.
His arrest emanated from a protracted child custody wrangle with his ex-girlfriend Chantelle Muteswa.
The South African courts have so far denied him bail.