Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Bernard Manyenyeni arrested

HARARE Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni was yesterday arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) soon after High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni granted his application to stop Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere from suspending, dismissing or removing him from serving as Mayor of Harare.


Cllr Manyenyeni, who spoke to The Herald while in ZACC officials custody, said he was charged with criminal abuse of public office arising from his appointment of former banker Mr James Mushore as Harare’s town clerk.

His lawyer, Prof Lovemore Madhuku, yesterday said ZACC officials pounced on Cllr Manyenyeni after High Court ruled in his favour.
Bernard Manyenyeni arrested
“After the court session, ZACC officials who were waiting outside whisked him away after learning that the court had ruled in his favour. The allegations are the same but they have decided to criminalise them, this time charging him with criminal abuse of duty.

“They are arguing that he appointed Mr Mushore without following the laid down procedures. I accompanied him and a warned and cautioned statement was recorded. We will appear in court with him tomorrow (today). We want him to be released on favourable conditions, which will allow him to go to work,” he said.

Cllr Manyenyeni is being detained at Avondale Police Station. Earlier on, Cllr Manyenyeni said: “Yes, I was immediately whisked away by the anti-corruption team straight after winning my court case. I am facing new charges still to be tabled by ZACC. I am with my lawyer at ZACC.”

Meanwhile, passing judgment, Justice Makoni said Minister Kasukuwere must not dismiss Cllr Manyenyeni again until the Supreme Court case in which the mayor is challenging Minister Kasukuwere’s powers to suspend him is heard.

Addressing journalists after the judgment, Prof Madhuku said the order granted by Justice Makoni will allow Cllr Manyenyeni to resume work forthwith.

“The judge has granted our application, which is effective to set aside the suspension of the mayor and permit the mayor to go back to work,” he said.

“She (Justice Makoni) has interdicted the minister (Kasukuwere) from suspending the mayor until the Supreme Court has determined an earlier appeal challenging the powers of the minister to suspend him,” said Prof Madhuku.

Cllr Manyenyeni, through his lawyers, had argued that Minister Kasukuwere was not permitted to re-suspend a mayor, whose suspension has lapsed by operation of law, in circumstances where the grounds for the re-suspension are based on facts which were known to the Local Government Minister at the time of the first suspension.

In the urgent chamber application, Prof Madhuku, Chimbga, Chinowawa and Hofisi had claimed that Minister Kasukuwere could not split facts and suspend Cllr Manyenyeni in instalments as doing so amounts to abuse of process. The lawyers argued that in suspending Cllr Manyenyeni, Minister Kasukuwere has exercised powers that are non-existent and that are not in accordance with the Constitution.

Lawyers, Prof Madhuku, Chimbga, Chinowawa and Hofisi wanted the High Court to issue an order setting aside the letter of re-suspension of Cllr Manyenyeni and for him to be allowed to continue to carry out council business and receive his allowances in line with his post of mayor.

Minister Kasukuwere first suspended CClr Manyenyeni from serving as Mayor of the City of Harare on April 20 this year, after accusing him of acting unlawfully and defying his directive by ordering Harare City Council councillors to approve the appointment of Mr Mushore to the position of town clerk for the City of Harare.

Cllr Manyenyeni only resumed duty on June 6 this year as Minister Kasukuwere failed to cause a thorough investigation to be conducted within 45 days as envisaged by Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) as ordered by High Court judge Justice Mary-Zimba Dube, when the lawyers first challenged his suspension in April.

But on June 7, Minister Kasukuwere issued Cllr Manyenyeni with a fresh letter of suspension, citing cases of misconduct purportedly committed in 2015. Herald
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