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Ivy Kombo, husband protest state bid to ‘smuggle’ rejected exhibit in fraud trial

‘You slept on the job’ affirms couple after state howler

HARARE – Gospel musician Ivy Kombo and husband Andy Kasi have written to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) complaining about alleged attempts to ambush the couple with a rejected piece of evidence by Anesu Chirenje, the prosecutor their fraud trial.

The United Kingdom based pair is accused of illegally acquiring certificates to practise law in Zimbabwe without writing conversion examinations as per requirement.

They are jointly charged with Huggins Duri, an official from the Council for Legal Education (CLE).

In a letter dated February 13, the couple accused Chirenje of attempting to bypass proper procedure after he included an email extract into their record despite the presiding magistrate having earlier rejected it.

“It is worrying that your unfortunate conduct of having ‘slept at work’ demonstrates a concerning lapse in diligence because you failed to provide the crucial email extract that you now intend to rely on.

“Such an omission or oversight was brazenly negligent on the part of the state to say the least.

“Attempting to discover it now is unfair, unlawful, abusive and a procedural tactic,” wrote their lawyer, Admire Rubaya.

Last week, regional magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka blocked tendering of the email into the record after confirming the exhibit had not been shared with the defence.

Chirenje had told court that the email was part of his other witness in the matter, Edith Mandinake’s affidavit.

On February 13, Chirenje wrote to Kombo’s lawyer serving him with the email which he says was authored by the third accused person, Duri to Mandianike.

In a letter responding to Chirenje, lawyer Rubaya said it was concerning that Chirenje went behind their back and served the rejected email document to his receptionist.

He said the State slept on the job and was now using unorthodox means to resuscitate the matter by trying to introduce the document which he said will prejudice their clients as they prepared their defence without it.

“The State availed and served us with an affidavit containing only one annexure which is a schedule not an email extract,” said the lawyer.

Rubaya also questioned why the State was now serving the document again if the prosecutor insists that he served it before.

“You are, with respect, unashamedly seeking to inflict unprocedural surprise attacks on the defence through investigative prosecution.

“The court had obviously already pronounced itself regarding the document which renders your attempt to re-introduce it through the attempted service a blatant overreach.

“We firmly object to the same and any possible manipulation of evidence, especially using documents that were never discovered and/or availed to the accused before trial.

“This ‘investigative prosecution’ tactic is deplorable and violates due process,” the letter says.

Kombo and husband also said Chirenje’s conduct shows that he is working under the influence of some individuals.

“Our client now asserts and believes that you may be afraid of certain individuals because you failed to serve the accused with the alleged email extract.

“That is your problem and we cannot possibly help you out. If that is the case, then your alleged fear of the individuals should not influence the process,” the letter reads.

The couple’s trial is expected to continue on February 19.

Zimlive

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