Torture Victim Seeks to Garnish Delinquent Prison Guards’ Salaries Over Aberrant Conduct

Torture Victim Seeks to Garnish Delinquent Prison Guards’ Salaries Over Aberrant Conduct

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A TORTURE victim has initiated processes to seize monthly salaries of two Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers to pay a debt amounting to US$5 200 after he successfully sued the duo, which tortured him early last year.

In a letter written on Tuesday 29 August 2023 to the Director of the SSB, Harare resident, Alex Tendai Gombedza, who is represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, notified the SSB that he would be applying for a garnishee order from a local court against the two ZPCS officers Michael Nduna and Florence Chihambakwe, which will sanction the body, which processes salaries for civil servants in Zimbabwe, to recover the debt, which the duo owes Gombedza.

Nduna and Chihambakwe were on 24 November 2022 ordered by a Harare Magistrate to pay US$5 250 to Gombedza for damages for humiliation, embarrassment, affront to dignity and contumelia, pain and suffering and special damages for medical expenses which he incurred while being treated after he sued them in their personal capacity and claimed compensation for unlawful assault and torture.

Gombedza was severely assaulted and tortured together with his friend Evidence Kutsawa after they were accused by Nduna and Chihambakwe of passing through a prohibited area while they were walking through Chikurubi Prison garden in Harare in January 2022.

During the torture, Nduna and Chihambakwe instructed Gombedza and Kutsawa to lie down on the ground before assaulting them on their feet using wooden pick handles. After the assault, the ZPCS officers instructed some prisoners whom they were supervising to also assault the duo.

As a result, Gombedza and Kutsawa sustained severe injuries and had to seek medical attention.

Gombedza sustained injuries on his legs and feet and he was admitted at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital for treatment. The Harare resident suffered excruciating pain on his feet, which he still feels to date.

According to a medical report, Gombedza suffered three percent residual disability as a result of the injuries, which he sustained from the assault.

During trial at Harare Civil Magistrates Court, Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe argued that their client felt greatly humiliated, embarrassed, dehumanised and degraded with the assaults and ill- treatment that he received at the hands of the ZPCS officers.

The human rights lawyers stated that Nduna and Chihambakwe treated Gombedza as if he was a dangerous criminal yet he was unarmed and posed no security threat whatsoever.

Furthermore, Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe argued that there was no justification for the excessive use of force against Gombedza as he had not committed any crime but was just going about his business walking on his way to Harare’s central business centre.

After the assault and torture, an aggrieved Gombedza engaged Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe, who in August 2022 sued Nduna and Chihambakwe for damages amounting to US$5 250 arising from the physical attack and ill-treatment for pain and suffering, humiliation, affront to dignity and embarrassment. Gombedza also cited Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi, who served as Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister and ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu among the respondents.

In his letter to SSB, Gombedza said he will proceed with seeking a garnishee order against the two ZPCS officers as proceeds realised from the sale of some household property belonging to Nduna at an auction held in Harare in April 2023 to recover the US$5 250 debt only amounted to US$49 leaving an outstanding debt of US$5 200.

The Harare resident said no attachable property was found at Chihambakwe’s residence.

ENDS

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