Police Hound Bennett Again

Bennett’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said plain clothes policemen led by Detective Inspector Muchada of the Criminal Investigations Department’s Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station had been stalking Bennett at several of the premises that he owns in Harare.

In a letter written to Muchada, Mtetwa said the police detectives had since early this month visited companies and premises connected to the former Chimanimani legislator with the intention to arrest him for yet unclear charges.

Informed police sources said the police wanted to question Bennett in connection with some statements which he allegedly made during an interview with the Guardian, a British online newspaper.

It is not yet clear which statements did Bennett make which were contemptuous of the court.

In her letter to Muchada, Mtetwa requested to be furnished with the reasons why the police were stalking Bennett.

“…we once again request that we be advised of the reasons why a posse of notorious CID Law and Order officers are stalking his premises when it is known that he is currently out of the country,” said Mtetwa.

The human rights lawyer warned that if the police persist in their refusal to disclose the reasons for their actions she “shall be obliged to approach the courts for appropriate relief.”

Mtetwa said the police had refused to disclose the reasons for stalking Bennett after she made telephone enquiries to the Officer in Charge only identified as Ntini. Instead the police advised her to come in person so that she can be advised of the “renewed hounding and harassment” of Bennett.

“If it is alleged that he has committed an offence, we are entitled to be advised of the full details of this in advance so that we come fully prepared to give a warned and cautioned statement. The refusal to divulge the reasons for which our client is being sought is obviously meant to justify his being locked up, inevitably followed by a court process which would ensure he remains in custody even if the courts grant him bail under the abused Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,” Mtetwa wrote in her letter dated 14 September and addressed to Muchada.

Bennett, who is Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s pick for the portfolio of Deputy Agriculture Minister, which has not been filled since February 2009 when Tsvangirai and President Mugabe formed a coalition government was acquitted by the High Court in May after undergoing trial on terror related charges.

However, the Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana has since appealed against High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu’s decision to acquit him.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku recently reserved judgment after hearing submissions from both the State and Bennett’s lawyers.