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Zimbabwe: Businessman Chivayo Acquitted of U.S.$5.6 Million Fraud

Photo: The Herald

Wicknell Chivayo and his lawyers at the High Court.

Harare businessman Wicknell Chivayo has been acquitted of a $5,6 million fraud charge in a botched Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) solar project deal after the High Court ruled that charges were contrived and properly excepted to.

Chivayo had approached the higher court challenging the magistrates' court decision to dismiss his application excepting to the charges on the grounds that they did not disclose an offence.

In a judgment delivered today Justice Owen Tagu ruled that the charges, "apart from being suggestive of a skirmish, a mere witch hunt and a fishing expedition it tells more of a hidden hand or mala fides intention in the institution of the criminal proceedings brought about by the State in the circumstances."

The judge also noted the decisions of two different judges of the same court in separate sittings and dealing with different issues but relating to a similar cause of action concurred on the lack of merit in the criminal case. This, he said, was no coincidence.

"Rather, it demonstrates the extent of common acceptance that the criminal case is at best a causa non grata, a high sounding nothing," said Justice Tagu in his scathing judgment.

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