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The State is reportedly abusing the rights of citizens with impunity because the law does not allow plaintiffs to attach Government property even when courts award damages, parliamentarians heard yesterday.

It also emerged that citizens and private companies were reportedly owed huge sums of money in damages that the State has not settled since the 1990s.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs yesterday, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Head of Litigation Unit, Mr Tafadzwa Christmas, said there was need for the State to comply with court judgments.

He told the committee chaired by MDC-T legislator for Harare West, Ms Jessie Majome that the State Liabilities Act and the Police Act made it difficult for citizens or private companies to get recourse even when the courts grant damages against it.

“We have the State Liabilities Act which stops citizens from attaching Government property and as a result the State still owes citizens since the 1990s even where it consented to the judgement,” said Mr Christmas.

“The State does not own up, which creates a culture of impunity. We have a lot of judgments some of them default and where the State consents but it does not translate to the ground.

“The other problem is that the same Act says one should give 60 days notice if they want to sue the State while on the other hand, the Police Act prescribes that one must take the matter to the police within eight months from the date that the incident happened.”

Mutasa South legislator, Cde Irene Zindi (zanu-pf), said it appeared as if the two Acts were enacted to frustrate citizens.

Source : The Herald