Harare magistrate Richard Ramaboea has ordered deputy finance minister Terence Mukupe to return the mobile phone handset he took from NewsDay journalist Blessed Mhlanga within six hours of being served with the order.
The provisional order was issued on 18 June 2018 after Mhlanga’s lawyer Chris Mhike successfully applied for the recovery of the Samsung S7 Edge.
“Failing compliance with this order by the respondent (Mukupe), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is authorised to assist the Messenger of Court – Harare to extract Applicant’s (Mhlanga) mobile phone handset from the respondent if the Messenger of Court faces resistance,” Ramaboea ordered.
Mukupe was also ordered to pay costs of the application.
Mhlanga was on 5 June 2018 charged with contravening Section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act arising from his alleged assault of the deputy minister
This followed the recording of a warned and cautioned statement by the police from Mhlanga at Harare Central Police Station on allegations of assaulting Mukupe on 24 May 2018 at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Spot FM Highlands Studios.
The State alleges Mhlanga teamed up with his wife Florence, in assaulting the deputy minister by “pushing him [Mukupe] and pulling his jacket.” Mhlanga denies the allegation.
According to his lawyer, Chris Mhike, the journalist maintains that the State should be going after Mukupe, who allegedly and unreasonably lost his temper during a radio interview and used violence against Mhlanga and his wife.