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Grace Mugabe orphanage challenges search warrant

By Desmond Chingarande

The trustees of the Grace Mugabe Foundation have filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking to bar the police from seizing property at the former First Lady’s Mazowe orphanage.

First Lady Grace Mugabe (Picture by NewsDay)
Former First Lady Grace Mugabe (Picture by NewsDay)

They said the search and seizure warrant was not clear for them to allow the police to execute it.

The officer-in-charge of Mazowe Police Station, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and an Assistant Inspector Chinwamaruku were cited as respondents in the matter.

Their application is for an interdict, seeking stay of execution of the warrant.

It is alleged that on April 15 this year at around 4pm, Chinwamaruku led a team of police officers to Amai Grace Mugabe Junior and Senior schools with a warrant of search and seizure.

The schools belong to the former First Lady.

But the trustees said the warrant had material deficiencies in that it did not sufficiently and distinctly particularise the property that was intended to be identified from the search exercise.

“It was embarrassingly vague for generalising some of the property using language such as a stolen transformer, a 125kvA generator, 20 wooden cabins. The search warrant does not specifically identify the physical address of the place of the intended search …,” they said.

They also said the police arrived towards nightfall while the search warrant did not specifically permit them to conduct their search at night as required by the law.

One Mark Rujuwa, who deposed a certificate of urgency, stated that there was an imminent threat of invasion of privacy.

In an affidavit filed on behalf of the trustees, Jabulani Dumbura said Chinwamaruku arrived at the orphanage in the company of other officers and a civilian only identified as Danda, who was driving them in a BMW X5 vehicle.

“This is a critical point that was already expressed, there are students that are currently housed in the learning facilities together with orphans at the orphanage. There has to be a check-in methodology of potentially searching into the private space of students and orphans,” Dumbura submitted.

The matter is yet to be heard. News Day

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