Top lawyer Samkange runs away from police

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    The drama at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts unfolded after magistrate Ms Olivia Mariga issued the lawyer — who is facing perjury charges — with a warrant of arrest for defaulting court.

    Samkange is accused of having lied under oath after deposing an affidavit at the High Court claiming that his client, Africa Consolidated Resources boss Andrew Noel Cranswick, was arrested for unlawfully possessing diamonds in 2006.

    The Harare magistrate issued the warrant at around 8:30am when the lawyer did not show up.

    Samkange, who was clad in a designer suit, arrived at the court around 8:40am and as he was entering the court building, he was greeted by police detectives who were armed with the warrant issued against him.

    The lawyer immediately took to his heels, heading for the car park with the detectives in hot pursuit.A crowd gathered to watch the "race" between the lawyer and police.

    Samkange shouted at fellow lawyers who were at the court attending to their cases to alert them that he was being arrested.

    "Muchadehama ndavakusungwa (Muchadehama I am being arrested)," shouted the lawyer who had spotted a colleague, Mr Alec Muchadehama, in the crowd.

    The detectives caught up with Samkange when he stopped to pick up his mobile phones which had dropped to the ground.

    They whisked him off to Matapi Police Station in Mbare where he was detained before being brought to court in the afternoon.

    Samkange was accompanied by his partner Mr Chris Venturas and another lawyer Mr Charles Chinyama in the afternoon and managed to have the warrant cancelled when they appeared before Ms Mariga.

    The warrant was cancelled after Samkange explained why he was late for court.The perjury case then went to trial and was heard by another magistrate, Mr Archie Wochiunga.

    In his defence outline, Samkange denied that he lied under oath and maintained that his client had at one time been arrested by police.

    "I challenge the State to prove that Cranswick was not arrested," he said.

    The lawyer said the allegations against him were malicious and defamatory.

    Mr Edmore Nyazamba of the Attorney-General’s Office led evidence from the first State witness, Senior Assistant Commissioner Silence Pondo, who is the Officer Commanding the Minerals Unit and Border Control.

    Snr Asst Comm Pondo denied that police had ever arrested Cranswick.The trial continues today with Samkange examining the State witness.

    The State alleges that Samkange deposed an affidavit at the High Court claiming that Cranswick was arrested for unlawfully possessing diamonds in 2006.

    Samkange was seeking an interdict barring police from arresting his client on the same allegations.As a result of the affidavit with that claim, the State alleges, he was granted the order.

    Mr Nyazamba alleges that on March 20 this year Samkange, in his capacity as a legal practitioner, wrote in his supporting affidavit statement that Cranswick had once been arrested for unlawfully dealing in diamonds in 2006.

    One Priscilla Nyaradzo Munangati reportedly commissioned the statement.When Samkange made this affidavit statement, it is alleged, he was well aware that his client had never been arrested on such charges.

    Samkange reportedly filed the affidavit statement at the High Court.

    On March 24 this year, Justice Karwi granted the application.The State alleges that the High Court order was granted on the basis of a false statement.

    Police investigators revealed they had no record of any such arrest.

    It is the State’s contention that it was in fact Ian Harris, an ACR director, who was arrested in that matter.

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