South Africa-based Zimbabwean business mogul, Frank Buyanga has responded to an article by The Herald which suggested that Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga had labelled him a fugitive from justice.
We present his response as posted by the NewsDay in full below.
On 1 May 2020, the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper printed an article headlined “Buyanga a fugitive from justice: Police chief”. We find the headline and the content of the article to be almost entirely false and amounting to nothing less than defamation against Mr Frank Sadiqi.
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On 30 April 2020, an appeal application was heard in the Zimbabwe High Court in which our client sought the suspension of a strange and misguided court order granted against him on 16 April 2020 by Justice Manzunzu. The Honourable Justice Mafusire dismissed the appeal, however, stated that he had misgivings about Justice Manzunzu’s order to arrest Mr Sadiqi. Justice Mafusire stated, “After considering the matter, the judgment by Manzunzu J, and after considering the notice of opposition, first, personally I have misgivings and with all due respect, I say this with all due respect, I have misgivings about Paragraph 4 of the order of Manzunzu J,”. Paragraph 4 of the 16 April 2020 court order states “Failure of which, this order shall serve as a warrant of arrest for the First Respondent throughout Zimbabwe for him to be brought before the court to show cause why he should not be found to be in contempt of court of this order”.
We find it incredulous and defamatory that Comm-Gen Matanga would call Mr Sadiqi a fugitive from justice when he has not been found guilty of any criminal action. Further, Comm-Gen Matanga stated, “My police officers are investigating this criminal case and efforts to locate either the applicant or the minor child within Zimbabwe have yielded no results”. The matter currently before the courts is a civil matter regarding the custody of a five-year-old child. It is not a criminal matter and Mr Sadiqi has not been found guilty of any criminal action. We, therefore, find the statement by Comm-Gen Matanga to be entirely incorrect and defamatory.
Despite the custody battle not being a criminal matter, Comm- Gen Matanga states that they have approached Interpol in locating Mr Sadiqi. We submit that this further points to the unjust treatment of our client by the various government departments, police officials and court officials in Zimbabwe as a result of the political influence being held over these departments. We are confident that any approach by Zimbabwe to Interpol will not be entertained as it is baseless and unconstitutional.
The appeal against Justice Manzunzu’s court order dated 16 April 2020 continues, as does the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic which has locked down most of the world’s international borders, making the 16 April 2020 court order impossible to comply with in any case. The current directive that only urgent and bail matters can be filed in the Zimbabwe Supreme Court has taken away Mr Sadiqi’s constitutional right to protection from the law.
Mr Sadiqi has continuously been a victim of corruption and unjust treatment by various government departments, police officials and court officials in Zimbabwe, but we are confident that Mr Sadiqi will be given a fair hearing in court in which the court order dated 16 April 2020 will be successfully appealed.
ATTORNEY FOR MR FRANK BUYANGA SADIQI IN SOUTH AFRICA