State refuses to try Gudyanga, Chidhakwa separately

Former secretary for the ministry of Mines, Francis Gudyanga braces for more routine remands as trial is likely not to begin anytime soon in a matter in which he is jointly charged with the former Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa for criminal abuse of office.

Prosecutor Michael Chakandida today told Harare magistrate Nyasha Vitorini that he will not be trying the two separately following a request by Gudyanga’s lawyer, Norman Mugiya to have his client’s record pulled out to enable his trial to start as he does not have pending matters at the High Court like Chidhakwa.

Chidakwa who is being represented by Sylvester Hashiti has an order from the High Court for the stay of all proceedings at the Magistrate’s court pending the higher courts ruling on his application for review for his application for exception.

The matter has been rolled over to April 15.

The State alleges that in May 2015, Gudyanga, who was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, thus being a public officer, received appeal correspondence from Ronald Mugangavari against a determination by  C. Phiri and T. Paskwavaviri, the provincial mining commissioners for Masvingo and Midlands, respectively over a claim ownership case.

The appeal was allegedly in connection with the mine claim ownership dispute between Midway 21 Gold Mine, owned by K & G Syndicate represented by Herbert Hwekwete, and Clifton 15 Mine owned by one  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 in favour of 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 Mr Mugangavari unlawfully returning to the mine to continue mining.

On July 4, 2017,  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 the two 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.