Lawyers representing businessman Frank Buyanga say reports that their client is a fugitive from justice were false and defamatory.
They argue he has not been found guilty of any criminal offence in the country. The development comes after last week’s comments attributed to Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga.
Commissioner-General Matanga was quoted as saying Buyanga, was being regarded as a fugitive from justice after fleeing the country with his five-year-old son following a kidnapping incident which occurred last month.
Following the incident at Waterfalls Shopping Centre on March 26, the High Court ordered Buyanga to return the child to his mother, Chantelle Muteswa.
Buyanga who is outside the country failed to comply with the order saying he was unable to travel because of Covid-19 travel bans and lockdown provisions.
In a statement on Sunday, Buyanga’s Attorney, William Wilcock who is based in South Africa said their client was unable to comply with any order because of the lockdown affecting most of the world’s international borders.
“On 30 April 2020 an appeal application was heard in the Zimbabwe High Court in which our client sought the suspension of a strange and misguided court order granted against him on 16 April 2020 by Justice Manzunzu. The Honourable Justice Mafusire dismissed the appeal, however stated that he had misgivings about Justice Manzunzu’s order to arrest Mr Sadiqi.
“Justice Mafusire stated “After considering the matter, the judgment by Manzunzu J, and after considering the notice of opposition, first personally I have misgivings and with all due respect, I say this with all due respect, I have misgivings about Paragraph 4 of the order of Manzunzu J,”.
“Paragraph 4 of the 16 April 2020 court order states “Failure of which, this order shall serve as a warrant of arrest for the First Respondent throughout Zimbabwe for him to be brought before the court to show cause why he should not be found to be in contempt of court of this order”,” Wilcock said.
He added, “We find it incredulous and defamatory that Comm-Gen Matanga would call Mr Sadiqi a fugitive from justice when he has not been found guilty of any criminal action. Further, Comm-Gen Matanga stated “My police officers are investigating this criminal case and efforts to locate either the applicant or the minor child within Zimbabwe have yielded no results.
“The matter currently before the courts is a civil matter regarding the custody of a five-year-old child. It is not a criminal matter and Mr Sadiqi (Buyanga) has not been found guilty of any criminal action. We therefore find the statement by Comm-Gen Matanga to be entirely incorrect and defamatory.”
Wilcock said despite the custody battle not being a criminal matter, Comm-Gen Matanga had stated that they have approached Interpol to locate Buyanga.
“We submit that this further points to the unjust treatment of our client by the various government departments, police officials and court officials in Zimbabwe as a result of the political influence being held over these departments. We are confident that any approach by Zimbabwe to Interpol will not be entertained as it is baseless and unconstitutional.
“The appeal against Justice Manzunzu’s court order dated 16 April 2020 continues, as does the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic which has locked down most of the world’s international borders, making the 16 April 2020 court order impossible to comply with in any case.
“The current directive that only urgent and bail matters can be filed in the Zimbabwe Supreme Court has taken away Mr Sadiqi’s constitutional right to protection from the law,” he said.
Wilcock said Buyanga has continuously been a victim of corruption and unjust treatment by various government departments, police officials and court officials. H Metro