Busi­ness­man wins back fish­ing rigs after High Court bat­tle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mashudu Net­sianda

THE High Court has or­dered the Zim­babwe Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (Zim­parks) to re­lease two fish­ing rigs, which it had il­le­gally im­pounded from a Binga busi­ness­man for fish­ing in pro­hib­ited ‘‘breed­ing wa­ters” on the Zam­bezi River.

The rul­ing by Bulawayo High Court judge Jus­tice Maxwell Takuva fol­lowed a court ap­pli­ca­tion by Mr Tau­rai Mar­ava chal­leng­ing the seizure of his two fish­ing rigs last year in Au­gust.

In papers be­fore the court un­der case num­ber HC 2712/17, Mr Mar­ava, through his lawyers Shenje and Com­pany, cited Zim­parks as the re­spon­dent.

Zim­parks rangers im­pounded Mr Mar­ava’s rigs for fish­ing in pro­hib­ited ‘‘breed­ing wa­ters” in the Zam­bezi River and forced his three em­ploy­ees to pay ad­mis­sion of guilt fines of $20 each, but they re­fused to re­lease the ves­sels de­mand­ing $2 000 per boat.

Jus­tice Takuva ruled that it was il­le­gal for Zim­parks to im­pound the two ves­sels and or­dered the au­thor­ity to im­me­di­ately re­lease them within 24 hours.

“’The im­pound­ing of the ap­pli­cant’s ves­sels KF3026 and KF2144 on the 26th of Au­gust 2017 be and hereby de­clared il­le­gal and to that ex­tent, null and void. The re­spon­dent be and hereby or­dered to re­lease the two ves­sels un­con­di­tion­ally within 24 hours of ser­vice of this or­der,” ruled the judge.

He also or­dered Zim­parks to bear the le­gal costs in­curred by Mr Mar­ava.

Jus­tice Takuva said ac­cord­ing to sec­tion 38 of Statu­tory In­stru­ment 362/90, Zim­parks is only legally obliged to im­pound ves­sels that are not reg­is­tered in terms of the In­land and Ship­ping Reg­u­la­tions RGN 832/1971 and to the ves­sels that are not li­censed to sail on the wa­ters or fish with­out a per­mit is­sued by rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties.

“These are the sort of ves­sels that are not law­fully on the wa­ters and li­able to be im­pounded by Zim­parks and this is why the ap­pro­pri­ate fee is $2 000 per ves­sel,” he said.

In his found­ing af­fi­davit, Mr Mar­ava sought an or­der for the re­lease of the rigs, ar­gu­ing that Zim­parks was legally mis­taken in its view re­gard­ing the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of hold­ing his prop­erty.

“The re­spon­dent (Zim­parks) is mis­taken in its view re­gard­ing the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of hold­ing ap­pli­cant’s prop­erty. If, as re­spon­dent al­leges, the ap­pli­cant‘s em­ploy­ees were guilty of fish­ing in a pro­hib­ited area the Prin­ci­pal Act clearly pro­vides crim­i­nal pe­nal sanc­tions, amongst which is pay­ment of a fine of level five or im­pris­on­ment not ex­ceed­ing 6 months, or to both such fine and im­pris­on­ment ,” he said.

Mr Mar­ava said although the ves­sels fished in a pro­hib­ited area, they were not on the wa­ter un­law­fully since they were reg­is­tered and li­censed to fish on the gen­eral wa­ter of the river.

“The Act grants the re­spon­dent the choice to ac­cept a fine or take ac­cused per­son to court but once a choice has been made, the re­spon­dent would have to live with that,” he said.

Mr Mar­ava ar­gued that Zim­parks had no le­gal

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