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WHEN Iranian businessman Seyed Khavidaki took on Kenya’s tax authorities, not many people would have put money on a bet that he would win. He is, after all, the Kenya country representative of an outfit that allegedly owes Kshs188-m in tax and he is also the only avenue through which the revenue authority can reach the company concerned which has its base in the United Arab Emirates. To keep him in the country, Kenya’s official confiscated Khavidaki’s passport and issued a notice prohibiting him from leaving the country. But he has won at least a temporary victory, with the court ordering his passport returned and the prohibition notice lifted – pending resolution of the tax dispute.
FORMER Namibian supreme court judge, Pio Teek, has featured in judicial decisions more than once over the last weeks. Most significantly, the Supreme Court has confirmed the retired judge’s high court acquittal as pronounced at the end of his trial for sexual offences in relation to two young girls (see separate story below). The court strongly criticised the police investigation and other aspects of the way the state presented its case. But judgment in a second matter involving the retired judge has also been recently delivered, with the high court refusing a claim for defamation in which Judge Teek and his daughter wanted N$6-million in damages. The case is an off-shoot of a dispute over fishing rights. Judge Teek challenged a claim that he had suggested shares offered to him by an affirmative action fishing company should be registered in the name of his then under-age daughter; then, years later, he objected to an apparent reference to that issue in a separate plea filed in a different case, claiming defamation.
AFTER one of the most lengthy and grueling trials in Namibian history, former Supreme Court judge Pio Teek has finally been acquitted on all counts of sexual misbehavior first laid against him in January 2005. This week’s Supreme Court decision clearing him completely pointed out examples of shoddy work in the case by police investigators and others, and warned that the “systemic failures” evident in the case brought the system of criminal justice into disrepute. It could result “in a travesty of justice”, said the judges. Though the criminal case has now come to an end, there is a strong likelihood that former Judge Teek will sue over the charges and the state’s handling of the matter.
IN a sensational new case, Ghana’s highest judicial forum has been considering whether it was lawful for the country’s president to reverse contempt of court sentences. This, after three men were sent to prison for effectively inciting people listening to a radio show to kill judges if they did not like the outcome of a then-pending case. The whole matter, referred to as “Montie 3” after the radio station involved, has touched a raw nerve in Ghana: no one has forgotten the three high court judges who were executed in 1982 on orders of the then political establishment. A memorial to these judicial “martyrs to the rule of law” stands not far from where the panel of judges has been considering the crucial questions of judicial independence and presidential power under the constitution prompted by the Montie 3 case.