POLICE Chief Superintendent Luckson Mukazhi, a witness in the $4 million fraud trial of business tycoon John Arnold Bredenkamp told the court yesterday that the businessman could not be arrested and prosecuted for fraud earlier as the case was regarded to be of national interest.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
The top cop made the remarks at the High Court while testifying in a matter in which Bredenkamp is charged with defrauding his fellow businessman Yaqub Ibrahim Mohammed of over $4 million.
Advocate Eric Matinenga asked Mukazhi to confirm whether at one point there was talk about the matter not being pursued because it was of national or public interest to which Mukazhi replied: “Yes, the Attorney-General (AG) and the police agreed that it was of public interest and bringing it to court would serve no purpose.”
Mukazhi further said Bredenkamp’s docket was at one point requested by the AG’s office for perusal and both parties were called for a series of meetings at which stage the issue of the matter being of public interest was raised.
As the cross-examination continued, it emerged that both the police and the AG’s office initially declined to prosecute Bredenkamp, but later proceeded to do so after Mohammed persisted.
After the closing of the State’s case, Matinenga applied for Bredenkamp’s acquittal, arguing that the State had failed to establish a prima-facie case against his client, but State counsel Michael Reza insisted that the State had managed to establish a case against Bredenkamp.
Reza said when Bredenkamp borrowed the money he failed to use it for its intended purposes, but used some of it at his farm.
However, Matinenga said the case was a reflection of how a person could arm-twist the arms of State to recover debt through malicious prosecution.
“This court cannot be used as avenues to recover debts, there are other avenues. In this case civil proceedings were instituted in 2008 and the case is not yet complete,” Matinenga said.
Matinenga further said Bredenkamp could not again be charged for contravening the Exchange Control Act since the central bank’s regulations stipulated that one could do anything with free funds.
The State was taken to task by High Court Judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta to explain why it still maintained that Bredenkamp made misrepresentations given that other State witnesses said they did not know how the money was used, but some operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo also benefited.
Justice Chatukuta is expected to deliver judgment today.
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