Biti interception Case Ruling Reserved

In his urgent chamber application which was argued by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Biti wanted the High Court to interdict Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Chief Superintendent Patrick Majuta and Senior Assistant Commissioner Simon Nyathi from accessing any information from the mobile telecoms company concerning his calls.

The police, who were represented by Chris Mutangadura of the Attorney General’s Office opposed the application and defended the police actions in attempting to pry into Biti’s communications.

“The police cannot be stopped from investigating anyone whether there is a right to privacy or not,” said Mutangadura.

Mpofu told journalists that Justice Bhunu reserved judgment in the case.

“We argued on the issues and judgment was reserved,” said Mpofu.

Biti also cited Econet as a respondent in the case.

Last week Biti hauled Econet to court seeking to bar the mobile telecoms company from releasing any information about his cell phone lines, particularly any call history without a valid court order.

Biti, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) took the extraordinary step of dragging Econet to the High Court after he got information that the police had approached the mobile phone company requesting a call history for phone numbers he allegedly uses to communicate.

In his court application Biti said Econet had no right or obligation to disclose such information to anyone.

Biti said the court application had been prompted by the fact that some police officers had sought to abuse their positions by approaching Econet and demanding information on his calls, under the pretext that they were investigating criminal activities.

Besides Biti, Majuta at the weekend attempted to seize a mobile phone belonging to David Hofisi, a lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Majuta attempted to seize Hofisi’s mobile phone for the purposes of “downloading information” relating to the representation of Tawanda Tandi, a legal practitioner employed by Kantor and Immerman Legal Practitioners. Tandi had been arbitrarily arrested and wrongfully detained at the police station on Saturday on charges of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

Police alleged that Tandi had refused to hand over a passport belonging to one of the Ministry of Finance employees who was arrested last week on allegations of taking unauthorised trips and violating purchasing procedures, despite the fact that the passport had never been in his possession.

But Justice Francis Bere interdicted the police from taking possession of Hofisi’s mobile phone.