Chidhakwa, Gudyanga proceedings temporarily stayed

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A Harare man who was implicated in participation in the #Shutdownzim demos has been set free by the court.

The proceedings in the matter of former Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa and his former permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga, who are facing separate charges of abuse of office have been temporarily halted pending a High Court ruling on an application they made.

The two tendered an order from the High Court before a Harare magistrate on Thursday, for the temporary stay of the proceedings and if their application before the higher court is dismissed they will be going back on January 30 for trial continuation.

Allegations are that in May 2015, Gudyanga, who was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, thus being a public officer, allegedly received appeal correspondence from one Ronald Mugangavari.

Mugangavari, the court heard, was allegedly appealing against a determination by Mr C. Phiri and Mr T. Paskwavaviri, the provincial mining commissioners for Masvingo and Midlands, respectively.

The appeal was allegedly in connection with the mine claim ownership dispute between Midway 21 Gold Mine, owned by K & G Syndicate represented by Mr Hebert Hwekwete, and Clifton 15 Mine owned by Mugangavari.

The dispute allegedly involved issues to do with the mine boundaries. Chidhakwa and Gudyanga, acting in common purpose, with full knowledge that they did not have jurisdiction to deal with such an appeal, allegedly nullified the determination, showing favour to Mugangavari.

The court heard that according to the Mines and Mining Act, appeals against a determination by a Mining Commissioner are handled by the High Court.

The alleged unlawful decision by Chidhakwa and Gudyanga on the appeal resulted in Mugangavari unlawfully returning to the mine to continue mining.

On July 4, Mugangavari allegedly attempted to kill Hwekwete, the co-owner of K & G Syndicate, when he shot him together with his cousin, Robert, in both legs and the left hand respectively.

The shooting, the court heard, took place after they had visited the mine.

Mugangavari allegedly continued to deny the rightful owners access to the mine on the basis of the determination by Chidhakwa and Gudyanga.

Mr Andrew Marimo appeared for the State.