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High Court in Zimbabwe reinstates Frank Buyanga warrant of arrest

High Court judges Justices Pisirai Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero have reinstated a warrant of arrest for South Africa-based controversial businessman Frank Buyanga Sadiqi after a successful application by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The NPA applied for review of Harare magistrate Judith Taruvinga’s judgment that cancelled the warrant of arrest earlier this month.

The two judges ruled that Taruvinga grossly misdirected herself in her judgment.

“In a masterstroke, she overturned two judgments of the superior courts … She failed to appreciate the difference between the procedure of setting aside an irregular proceeding and cancellation of an order,” the judges ruled.

“An irregular proceeding is a proceeding contrary to the law and is, thus, a nullity. Such a proceeding is a money event in the eyes of the law. It cannot be cancelled. It can only be set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction.

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“When the magistrate thought she was merely cancelling a warrant of arrest, she was in fact setting aside her previous order thereby reviewing her own work. She had no jurisdiction to do so. She had become a functus officio.”

Justice Kwenda complained of harassment by Buyanga’s lawyers who he said accused him of bias.

“I could have reviewed the proceedings and if need be, obtained concurrence from another judge, peacefully in the comfort of my chambers.

“All hell broke loose when I decided to and did invite the legal practitioners who represented Frank Buyanga Sadiqi and the State in their capacity as officers of the court, to assist me with the legal issues which I had identified.

“As soon as they arrived, Frank Buyanga Sadiqi’s legal practitioners, three in number, ganged up against me and presented a furious argument aimed at ejecting me from the review process, accusing me of bias. If it was up to me and not a call of duty, I would have resolved never to do it again.”

Buyanga was arrested on November 10, 2022 by the South African Police Service (SAPS) during a joint raid involving the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) over allegations of child trafficking, immigration violations and forgery.

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