Mashonaland Central Minister of State Martin Dinha’s criminal matter, in which he is accused of soliciting for a $60 000 bribe from a white Centenary farmer, was yesterday referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) for determination and removal from the High Court’s roll.
The referral of the matter followed an application by Dinha, through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, after the junior minister was denied access to some State documents he intended to use in formulating his defence outline. Dinha, who is facing charges of money-laundering and criminal abuse of duty as a public officer or bribery, had made an application before High Court judge Justice Happious Zhou, seeking declassification of the State’s documents, but the judge dismissed the application, prompting him to seek leave for referral to the ConCourt.
The minister insisted the documents he required from the State related to meetings that took place between him, the complainant in the matter, Guy Frank Dollar, and State agents.
However, Justice Zhou yesterday ruled in Dinha’s favour, granting him leave to approach the ConCourt after making a determination that his request was not frivolous and vexatious as alluded to by the State.
The judge further said that it was the right of every person to approach the ConCourt if they had any constitutional issues for determination.
In his application, Dinha, who was represented by three lawyers, Mpofu, Garikai Sithole and Tapson Dzvetero, had argued that the documents he intended to use in his defence were held under the Official Secrets Act.
Dinha told the court he had tried everything possible to ensure the documents were declassified and given to his defence team, but his efforts had been thwarted by the State.
Charges against the minister are that he allegedly demanded $60 000 from Dollar as protection fee so that the latter would not be evicted from his Tzoro Farm.