Police Boss Matanga Faces Imprisonment Over Contempt Of Court
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga, is facing a 90-day jail term for contempt, NewZimbabwe.com reports.
Matanga (1st respondent) has together with the officer in charge at Dzivarasekwa Police Station Judith Tinarwo (2nd respondent) been sued by a local property developer, Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pfugari), for failing to provide police details to escort the deputy sheriff to evict thousands of people who illegally occupied the company’s land in Whitecliff, Harare.
How we got here:
- The occupants illegally settled on land grabbed from Pfugari.
- Pfugari obtained an eviction order at the High Court a few years ago, but the government, through the local government ministry, prevented the eviction saying it will compensate Pfugari.
- The government failed to pay prompting Pfugari to approach the sheriff of the High Court to implement the eviction.
- Pfugari now wants the High Court to grant another order declaring Matanga and his subordinate to be in contempt of court.
- They also want the court to ask them to provide the sheriff with sufficient manpower and equipment to enable peace to be maintained while the sheriff implements an earlier eviction order by the same court.
Why Matanga is being sued:
- The company’s lawyers, Scanlen & Holderness, argued in the application that the police did not act in accordance with that High Court order despite several written requests.
- The lawyers said this amounts to deliberate disregard of the court order by Matanga and Tinarwo.
- Assistance was supposed to be rendered within ten days of judgment.
What Pfugari is Seeking:
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- Pfugari wants an order directing Matanga and Tinarwo to comply with the court order or to have them jailed for 90 days if they fail to provide the required assistance to the sheriff within ten days of the order being granted.
- The duo has since filed their own answering affidavits denying any willful violation of the court order.
- They said they were waiting for the head of sheriff services to revert back to them for the execution of the order since they had approached them twice on different occasions when they indicated that their office was not yet ready to execute the order as it wanted to issue a new notice of eviction to new occupants who have not been on site before.
- They also accused the company of making the application out of malice.
- They reiterated that they are ready to assist the sheriff upon invitation and not through a contempt of court order.