By Tendai Rupapa
Former Kingstons Holdings chief executive Brian Sedze, who is facing charges of swindling his employer of more than US$130 000, attempted to ‘bribe’ the prosecutor who is handling his case, the court heard on Tuesday.
This came out when prosecutor Mr Michael Reza was responding to Sedze’s application in which he wants both the trial magistrate and the prosecutor to recuse themselves from the matter. Sedze accused regional magistrate Mr Simon Rojers Kachambwa and Mr Reza of being biased adding that his rights to a fair trial were being infringed.
Sedze yesterday appeared before Mr Kachambwa, and Mr Reza told the court that the former had previously approached him on three occasions persuading him to recuse himself from the matter. Mr Reza further submitted that Sedze even went on to send his friend to call him and negotiate on his behalf on how best he (Mr Reza) could ‘help’ him.
“Prior to the commencement of trial on March 21, the applicant approached me on three occasions persuading me not to be the prosecutor in his case because according to him. I have a reputation of not losing many cases.
“After I had politely refused to recuse myself, citing that his reason was not sufficient for a prosecutor to recuse himself, the applicant approached my boss Mr Murombedzi who also gave him the same answer,” he said.
Mr Reza added, “Having failed in his bid to choose his own prosecutor, the trial commenced on March 21 with me prosecuting. While the trial was in progress, Sedze asked his friend Ricky Chingarira to call me and ask how I could ‘help’ him, I put help in quotes your worship. I then told Chingarira never to call me again.”
Mr Reza dismissed Sedze’s allegations that the State did not respond to his application for discharge at the close of the State’s case adding that he never made such an application. Mr Reza added that there were no grounds whatsoever for him to recuse himself from the matter.
“No application for discharge was ‘simply ignored’ because none was made. There is not an iota of evidence to show that I have shown any bias, overt or covert against the applicant. He is talking of a written application for discharge which document was never given to me.
His intention is to delay trial proceedings,” Mr Reza said.
However Mr Kachambwa said he would submit his response and pass his ruling on Sedze’s application on Monday next week after Sedze, through his lawyer Mr Tazorora Musarurwa, requested for some time to prepare his response to Mr Reza’s submissions.
The trial magistrate, however, expressed displeasure in the manner in which Sedze wrote his application attacking him and the prosecutor. He said the way it was presented was clumsy. Mr Kachambwa told Mr Musarurwa that he was supposed to guide his client.
In his application Sedze questioned why the magistrate never proffered the reasons why he had not given a determination to his application but instead, chose to grant the State the opportunity to re-open its case.
Sedze further said he had glaring evidence that the magistrate and the prosecutor were acting in common purpose to ensure his conviction.
Charges against Sedze arose when Kingstons Holdings owed the National Social Security Authority a total of US$43 552,54 for non-payment of statutory obligations. NSSA obtained a High Court judgment against Kingstons to attach its property.
Sedze allegedly misrepresented to Kingstons Holdings that he had secured a financier to rescue them. He misrepresented that Rachet Investments was willing to lend US$31 000 to service the NSSA debt.
Afterwards Sedze allegedly claimed US$25 362 from Kingdom Holdings saying the money would cover legal fees and interest charged on the loan advanced by the purported financiers. He allegedly converted the money to his own use. The Herald