Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter—
A MUTARE businessman who spent more than six years trying to recover $1, 6 million that was misappropriated by the police despite being granted numerous court orders to get back his dues has come out in the open to thank President Mnangagwa for compelling the State to uphold the rule of law and pay him back.
The story of Mr Tendai Mangwiro is sweet news for many litigants who – despite winning law suits against State institutions – failed dismally in the past to get what they were owed due to the wanton disregard for justice that was characteristic of the previous administration.
In an exclusive interview with The Manica Post this week, Mr Mangwiro, who kept a low profile after receiving $1, 616 734,00 into his Stanbic account from the Ministry of Home Affairs, said the coming on board of the new political dispensation was heavenly as it made it possible for him to be re-united with his money which he had lost.
Of the total amount, $400 000 was charged as interest since the State dragged its feet to pay him despite a 2013 High Court ruling.
In 2008 the police confiscated $1,5 million from Mangwiro upon his arrest on theft charges. However, four years later in 2012, he was acquitted which meant that he was entitled to get his money back which had been kept as exhibit.
Since then he has been in and out of the courts in a bid to get his money back after the police claimed that the money was given to the complainant, Andrea Nsaka Nsaka.
Mr Mangwiro’s hopes were made alive following last November’s events that resulted in the dawn of a new political dispensation, which he believed was committed to the upholding of tenets of democracy premised on the rule of law.
Consequently, on July 29 this year he wrote to President Mnangagwa and pleaded with him to exercise his executive powers to facilitate payment.
“Honestly, I want to thank the new dispensation for making it possible for me to get my money from the police. I petitioned His Excellency President Mnangagwa to intervene and surely, I was conducted by people from his office. A certain lady phoned me and told me that the President said you were going to receive your money. There I am; I have received it,” he said.
In his petition to the President then, Mangwiro said he had hope in his democratic rule.
“Mr President I am just a mere Zimbabwean citizen by birth who, after taking cognisant of your inaugural speech and your state-of-the-nation address before the sitting of joint Houses of Parliament and Senate whereby you set the tone and emphasised your Government’s thrust to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, which same sentiments were echoed and buttressed by the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe . . . motivated me to petition you as the executive authority of Zimbabwe. Mr President . . . I hereby petition you . . . to reign in and intervene . . . as to date I have tried everything to have my court orders satisfied by the Zimbabwean Government to no avail, thereby making me baby-sit barren judgements for more than three years,” reads part of the petition.
Mangwiro said the President’s intervention helped solve the case that had brought him sleepless nights and literally drained him to the last cent as well as tearing his social and family fabric apart.
“I didn’t think the President would have time to go through my petition. From the response I got, the phone call and the resultant payment of my money which I had laboured to get for so many years, I believe he is a listening leader. Two months after I wrote the petition I got my money but, in the past, I chased shadows.”
He said it was not easy.
“It was not a walk in the park. It was a big struggle. I owe everything to God. I faced so many challenges whereby the State used all its powers through the abuse perpetrated by the police. They were the ones who had misappropriated the money which they had taken from me as exhibit. After my acquittal they did nothing to give me my money back. They had unlawfully released the money to someone else. I became so prayerful and had courage to fight the State
“In these legal battles, winning the case is another thing, which I deed. Enforcing or executing the court order is a struggle. I want to thank my wife for being there for me all the way. We used all the financial resources we had to fight on and by so doing it compromised the fabric of the family. We endured trying times of hunger. All the little we had was chewed up in the legal battles,” he said.
Despite the hurdles he faced in the quest to reclaim his money, Mangwiro said the country has a strong judiciary.
“I want to appreciate the country’s judiciary system which is strong. When I was fighting to get my money back I never had problems or suspicion that the judges were biased in favour of the State. A lot of big names were involved in my case, including ministers and police bosses but all the judges who handled my case were very credible. This is not because their judgements were in my favour but because justice took its course. The judges were so bold and I really want my fellow Zimbabweans to have confidence in our justice system.
“The State was vicious during the Robert Mugabe era but the judges stood firm. It was not easy during that period for a judge to make a proclamation to the effect that State coffers be garnished in order to pay a debtor.”
He said the Press did a good job by reporting the case fairly and exposed the misdeeds that were being perpetrated by the old administration.