Biti case: ‘Police fabricated documents’

By Tarisai Machakaire

Police “cooked up” documents used to drag MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti from Zambia, where he had sought asylum, a court heard yesterday.

Former Zimbabwean Finance Minister and MDC Alliance member Tendai Biti greets supporters outside the MDC Alliance's headquarters in Harare on July 31 (CREDIT: MARCO LONGARI/AFP)
Former Zimbabwean Finance Minister and MDC Alliance member Tendai Biti greets supporters outside the MDC Alliance’s headquarters in Harare on July 31

This was revealed by Biti’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa who appeared together with Alec Muchadehama and Harrison Nkomo during the continuation of the former Finance minister’s trial.

Biti is challenging the court’s authority to prosecute him.

Mtetwa proved to the court that the investigating officer, Jealous Nyabasa, did not have deportation documentation authorising Biti’s extradition from
Zambia.

She also accused Nyabasa of ignoring a court order showing that the Lusaka High Court was due to hear Biti’s asylum petition on August 8.

According to Mtetwa, a preamble to the warned and cautioned statement compiled by Nyabasa was dated August 8, to purport as though it had been issued before the Zambian order since Biti only signed it on August 9.

“Is it correct that the accused person gave you an order from the Zambian court and you kept it? The date on the statement shows that it was recorded on August 8, but Biti was given that same document the following day and I put it to you that you deliberately backdated (it) to look like it was recorded before the Zambian court order had been issued?

“Did the accused person not write three pages protesting his arrest and referred to that court order asserting his rights to be taken to the Lusaka court? Why then did you not ask to see the deportation certificate?” queried Mtetwa.

Nyabasa said the date was a mistake and told the court that he had not breached any deportation laws because he arrested Biti on Zimbabwean soil.

He said Zimbabwean Immigration officials were the ones who handed Biti over to him and said he was not bound by any Zambian law or court order issued beyond Zimbabwe’s jurisdiction.

He then said he had a handover document which Mtetwa disputed saying it was endorsed as a handover document of “items” not people.

The arguments continue on August 20.

Biti is arguing that Zimbabwean courts do not have authority to prosecute him arguing that he was “abducted” from the Zambian government where he sought asylum under unconstitutional means.

Prosecutor Gerald Uladi said the State had acted legally because there was a warrant of arrest authorising Biti’s detention.

He said Biti was arrested on Zimbabwean soil by local police officers hence disputing any violations of International Law. Daily News.