Zim court cancels arrest warrant for businessman detained by Interpol in Sandton for kidnapping

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Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga Sadiqi's lawyer is demanding his release after he was arrested last week by Interpol South Africa.
Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga Sadiqi's lawyer is demanding his release after he was arrested last week by Interpol South Africa.
Darrin Klimek
  • Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga Sadiqi was arrested last week by Interpol South Africa. 
  • On Monday, a Zimbabwean court cancelled his warrant of arrest. 
  • His lawyers want the Randburg Magistrate's Court to order his immediate release from prison. 

The lawyer representing a Zimbabwean businessman arrested on Thursday by Interpol wants the Randburg Magistrate's Court to order his client's immediate release.

This was after a Zimbabwean court cancelled Frank Buyanga Sadiqi's warrant of arrest on Monday.

The 43-year-old Sadiqi was arrested last week by Interpol South Africa and the National Intervention Unit (NIU) at an upmarket hotel in Sandton.  

His lawyer, Prince Mafu, confirmed to News24 the warrant was cancelled on Monday.

Mafu said he had a discussion with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on Tuesday, but it would need to confirm the Zimbabwean court order through diplomatic channels before the case sits before a magistrate in Randburg. 

"In terms of the judgment that was issued in Zimbabwe, there is no record of any pending charges or convictions whatsoever. What is there is a police investigation," he added on Tuesday.

Mafu said:

We are trying to have this process [Sadiqi's arrest] set aside, but obviously, the State needs to be satisfied through its diplomatic channels that, indeed, this is the position. We don't have any undertaking of how long that will take.

Sadiqi was wanted in his country for kidnapping and robbery charges as well as three counts of contempt of court, News24 earlier reported. 

In a statement, police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said Sadiqi allegedly kidnapped his next of kin and brought him to South Africa.

READ | Zim businessman says SARS is trying to drive him out of SA after R600m in goods allegedly seized

"A warrant of arrest was immediately issued by Zimbabwean authorities, after which Interpol Harare also issued a red notice."

He was expected to appear in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday for a formal bail application.

However, Mafu said if the DPP's office confirmed the order cancelling the warrant of arrest, then there would not be a need to be in court for a bail application. 

Sadiqi has been in a nasty custody battle since 2016 with his former lover.

In November last year, he was put on the Interpol Red Notice because he had allegedly kidnapped his son in Zimbabwe and brought him to South Africa illegally.

Following his arrest last week, his legal representative filed papers in a Zimbabwean court arguing the warrant was invalid in terms of the law.

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In court papers, Sadiqi's other lawyer, Admire Rubaya, argued a Zimbabwean magistrate had in June 2021 confirmed the police officer who subscribed to the application, or the deponent was a sergeant.

Rubaya said the warrant was irregularly issued because the deponent to the application for a warrant of arrest must be a police officer of or above the rank of inspector.

Rubaya added the court had relied on an affidavit of an officer who was just a "mere detective sergeant". 

READ | Hawks, Interpol arrest 2 men in Pretoria for online romance scam, will seek extradition to US

"… the magistrate's court had no powers at law to entertain an application for a warrant of arrest based on the evidence of a sergeant who is not a designated officer in terms of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

"It is our client's considered view that the warrant of arrest was irregularly issued and, for that reason, cannot remain in force."

Harare magistrate Judith Taruvinga ruled in favour of Sadiqi, cancelling the warrant of arrest.

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