Tsvangira’s drivers get reprieve

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s two drivers arrested four years ago for allegedly driving vehicles fitted with security lights, last week got a reprieve after they were placed off remand and the State was ordered to proceed by way of summons.

Richard Muponde
Senior Court REPORTER

Advocate Chris Mhike, representing Tsvangirai’s drivers Clifford Sanyika and Joshua Mhuriyengwe, confirmed the development last Friday.

“At their remand appearance before the magistrate at Beitbridge, both accused persons were removed from remand with the State being directed to proceed by way of summons if necessary, after conclusion of the pending High Court review proceedings,” he said.

“The High Court is yet to conclude the application for review.”

Sanyika and Mhuriyengwe were arrested in February 2011 at the Beitbridge border post on their way from South Africa and were charged with contravening section 29 (1)(10) or alternatively section 29(3) of Statutory Instrument 154 of 2010  for allegedly driving  vehicles fitted with blue beacons, which are a preserve for police vehicles only.

After their arrest, the two filed for an application for an exception to the charges, which Beitbridge magistrate Auxillia Chiwumburu dismissed.

They went on to approach the Harare High Court seeking a review of the judgment dismissing their application for exception to the charges.

In the application, Mhike said the decision by the magistrate to dismiss their application for exception to the charges was grossly unreasonable, irregular and not legally permissible to the extent that it had prejudiced his clients.

The Attorney-General’s office opposed the application and the two have since filed answering affidavits and the matter is still to be set down for hearing.

This was the second time Tsvangirai was being investigated over the importation of cars from South Africa.

In the run-up to the June 2008 presidential run-off election, the MDC-T leader’s armoured BMW X5 vehicle was impounded by police in Lupane on accusations he violated customs regulations.

The vehicle, donated to Tsvangirai by a South African businessman, is gathering dust at the rural police station.

The businessman, identified as Adrian Espag, had brought the vehicle – a bullet-proof BMW X5 registered in South Africa – into Zimbabwe before handing it over to Tsvangirai.

Police confiscated the vehicle from Tsvangirai claiming that in the absence of Espag it was illegal for the MDC-T leader to use it.