Grace Mugabe’s Mazowe Orphanage faces police raid

Former First Lady, Grace Mugabe

THE Trustees for Grace Mugabe Foundation have filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking to bar the police from conducting a search and seizure at the home in Mazowe.

The Trust says the search and seizure warrant is not clear enough for them to allow the police in and was initially initially intended to be executed at night.          

In a matter now before the High Court, the Trustees have cited Officer In Charge for Mazowe Police Station as first respondent while Assistant Inspector Chinwamaruku, Commissioner General of Police Godwin Matanga are second and third respondents respectively.

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

According to court papers, on the 15th of April 2021 at around 4 pm, Chinwamaruku, leading a team of other police officers, went to the place which houses Amai Grace Mugabe Junior and Senior Schools with a warrant of search and seizure.

The application further states that 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 125kwv generator, 20 wooden cabins.

“The search warrant does not specifically identify the physical address of the place of the intended search and the scope of such parameter especially when viewed against the background that the applicant controls related to a limited portion of the land it occupied and the institutions that are under its control on the property,” reads the application.

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.

Mark Rujuwa deposed to a certificate of urgency stating that there was an imminent threat of invasion of privacy against the property.

He said the search and seizure warrant placed the property at risk of being unlawfully seized.

“Such deprivation will be significantly prejudicial to the applicant and it is a deprivation that cannot be justified at law.

In an affidavit filed on behalf of the Trustees, Jabulani Dumbura, their accountant said Chinwamaruku was in company of other officers and one person only identified as Danda who was driving them in in BMW X5 vehicle.

Dumbura said he called his principal who advised him to wait for the lawyers, something which angered Danda.

“However, the said Danda who accompanied the police officers became extremely annoyed at this and became flustered.

“A mild raucous engagement ensued between the two opposite parties which eventually saw the said Danda inform Chinwamaruku that he cannot wait for lawyer, he does not operate like that and apparently commanded Chinwamaruku to leave,” said Dumbura.

The court was told Chinwamaruku then left and the lawyers arrived around 6pm and followed to the police station to address the issues.

Court has been told that the officer in charge of Mazowe Police Station said he was not seized with the matter and that “Chinwamaruku had attempted to execute the search warrant without his knowledge.”

He also assured them that the search warrant will not be executed the same night.

“There was an arrangement to set up a meeting with the complainant in the criminal case relating to the search warrant and a third party to show that the propriety of the complaint, giving rise to the search warrant may be flawed as the complainant did not have authority over the property he was searching for.

“Notwithstanding the arrangements made with the officer in charge, no absolute assurances were given to show that the warrant of search and seizure would not be executed. The threat therefore remains and is the reason that this application is made,” he said.

He said the warrant of search and seizure materially fails to indicate the scope of the physical space that it intends to be used on.

“This is a critical point that as 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 the methodology of potentially searching into the private space of students and orphans.

“The point to be made is not that the students’ space cannot be searched but it is highly undesirable and it is against public policy that the children, whilst being unintended subjects of the search and seizure that does not specify the scope of its physical boundaries is a potential to invade even the private space of the students and orphans at the school. “This court must clamp down on such unfettered powers which will amount to an abrogation of fundamental rights,” said Dumbura.

The matter is yet to be heard.

–New Zimbabwe.com

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