Ex-army captain slaps businessman with US$20m lawsuit
A FORMER captain in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Solomon Ndlovu, has slapped businessman Osfael Mazibuko and his manager with a US$20 million lawsuit over malicious prosecution.
Ndlovu, who was a chaplain at Mbalabala Barracks, was in January 2018 convicted of theft of a motor vehicle by Beitbridge regional magistrate Mark Dzira after a full trial.
He was sentenced to six years in jail, with two months suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
A further five months were suspended on condition he restituted Mazibuko US$2 500, leaving him with an effective 65 months to serve.
Aggrieved by both conviction and sentence, Ndlovu, through his lawyer Abel Ndlovu of Dube and Associates, filed an appeal at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as respondent.
In his grounds of appeal, Ndlovu said Dzira erred and misdirected himself by attaching a criminal liability to him for violating terms of an agreement that allowed him to take lawful possession of the vehicle.
He argued that the agreement he had with Mazibuko was purely a civil matter.
The State did not oppose the application, saying both the conviction and sentence were improper.
As a result, two High Court judges, Justices Maxwell Takuva and Thompson Mabhikwa, on September 16 2019, set aside both conviction and sentence, and acquitted Ndlovu.
He had, however, already served one year and eight months at Khami Maximum Security Prison on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
Ndlovu, through his lawyers, T Hara and Partners Legal Practitioners, on July 9, 2021 wrote a letter to Mazibuko and his manager Dennis Ndlovu, demanding payment of US$20 million being damages suffered as a result of the malicious incarceration.
Ndlovu, through his lawyers, said Mazibuko made a malicious report to the police that he stole his car when there was an agreement to the effect that he bought it.
“In your malicious enterprise, you were assisted by Dennis Ndlovu, who is your manager. You even went to the extent of using numbers of the Central Intelligence Organisation to make sure that the police would arrest our client,” Ndlovu said.
The letter further states that Ndlovu suffered a lot during trial on the criminal charge, conviction and sentencing.
Lawyers said apart from the pain induced by the prison term, both physical and mental, Ndlovu lost a house valued at US$50 000, a total of 78 head of cattle, each valued at US$500, a tractor which he had to sell valued at US$16 000.
His wife deserted him as a result of the wrong and malicious conviction.
Ndlovu threatened legal action if Mazibuko failed to pay the US$20 million.