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Tomana defies High Court

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Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana has refused to reverse the dismissal of five senior prosecutors who led a strike by judicial officers despite a High Court judgment in their favour.

Tomana withdrew licences of the Zimbabwe Law Officers’ Association (Ziloa) members in October last year after the strike by prosecutors.

High Court judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo on March 7 ordered the AG to reinstate them.

But in a letter addressed to one of the suspended prosecutors dated March 23, Tomana said the licenses would not be restored.

“Be advised that the office appealed to the Supreme Court against the judgment and an order of the High Court on March 7, 2012,” the AG wrote.

“Be also advised, however, that my authority to prosecute remains withdrawn firstly by operation of the law as the Attorney-General’s prosecutorial mandate is not subject to no (sic) other authority including the judiciary and the general effect of the appeal against the judgment in question.”

Justice Hlatshwayo set aside an instruction by Tomana which sought to bar prosecutors Leopold Mudisi, Patrobs Dube, Dereck Charamba, Musekiwa Mbanje and Mehluli Tshuma from practising, describing his action as null and void.

The judge further ordered the immediate reinstatement of the Ziloa executive members.

In his written judgment, Justice Hlatshwayo described as astounding Tomana’s argument that his powers could not be subjected to judicial scrutiny.

He observed that such scrutiny does not encroach on the autonomy and independence of the AG’s Office.

Justice Hlatshwayo said if the AG’s Office became immune to scrutiny it woul be become a law unto itself.

The law officers went on strike demanding a review of their salary scales to match those of magistrates and after they resumed work Tomana withdrew the practising certificates for the five prosecutors, saying the job boycott was illegal.

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