Zimbabwe: Nicholas Van Hoogstraten (Adolf Von Hessen) released

Gerrard Winstanley office at evnuk.org.uk
Mon Feb 4 17:35:45 GMT 2008

see also
Tycoon van Hoogstraaten arrested in Zimbabwe on cash, porno charges

BRITISH business tycoon Nicholas Adolf Von Hessen, also known as Van
Hoogstraten, who was arrested last week for allegedly dealing in
foreign currency, money laundering and possessing pornographic
pictures, was yesterday released from custody on a High Court order.


Von Hessen (63), who was arrested together with his secretary Nyasha
Gora (22), and two other men James Nqindi (54) and Nicholas Nzvere
(34), was represented by Harare lawyer Mr George Chikumbirike of
Chikumbirike and Associates.

Mr Chikumbirike successfully made an urgent chamber application at the
High Court seeking the release of his client citing over-detention,
which was granted by Justice Samuel Kudya.

In his brief ruling, Justice Kudya ordered the immediate release of
Von Hessen from police custody.

"It is ordered that the applicants be released from police custody
immediately upon service of the order on the respondents (police and
prosecution)," said Justice Kudya.

Police were served with the order at 1.30pm and the prosecution at
1pm, but the four had already been taken to the Harare Magistrates'
Courts where they were detained in the cells.

Police did not release the suspects from the court cells after
receiving the order and the court sat around 4pm with the State
seeking placement of the businessman on remand.

Prosecutor Mr Obi Mabahwana argued that the court had jurisdiction to
hear the case on the basis that the order only served to have the
accused persons released from police custody but did not bar the lower
court from placing them on remand.

But Mr Chikumbirike counter-argued that the High Court decision was
binding and that the State would proceed by way of summons, if it wished.

He insisted that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case and
that the State was acting in contempt of the High Court.

Mr Chikumbirike further submitted that the fact that the police had
taken the four to court earlier was of no value, saying they were
still under police custody since they had not appeared before a

The court adjourned for about 30 minutes as the record of proceedings
was taken from the High Court to assist Harare provincial magistrate
Mr Mishrod Guvamombe in making a ruling on the release or
incarceration of the four.

Mr Guvamombe came back and upheld the High Court's ruling, saying the
four should be released.

He said the transfer of the suspects from the police station to the
court without appearing before a magistrate was of no importance and
that the police acted in contempt of court.

"This was typical of an own goal on the part of the State as they
chose not to bring the suspects to court in time for reasons best
known to them."

"The High Court is superior to this court and I find that all the
accused persons are improperly before this court," said Mr Guvamombe.

Von Hessen was being accused of charging rentals for a Hillside house
in foreign currency.

It was the State's case that Von Hessen charged US$4 600 for his
property and was arrested in a trap.

He is also being accused of exchanging US$1 000 for Z$6,5 billion.

The State further alleged the businessman was found in possession of
US$37 000, R82 880, P180 and Z$17 billion.

He was also being charged with breaching the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Act after he was allegedly found in possession of fake R600 notes.

Von Hessen was also being charged with flouting the censorship and
entertainment control laws as he was allegedly caught in possession of
150 pornographic pictures, including those of his secretary Gora.

Gora was being charged with pornography while Nzvere and Nqindi were
being accused of possessing $2,3 billion, which the State said was
tantamount to money laundering.

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