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Chombo loses case against mayor


High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema has upheld an urgent chamber application filed by suspended Mutare mayor Brian James to stop disciplinary proceedings brought against him by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Justice Mutema granted the order on Tuesday and interdicted Chombo and his three-member board of inquiry from conducting disciplinary hearings against James until the matter is finalised at the High Court.

James’ lawyers Alec Muchadehama, Dzimbabwe Chimbga and Jeremiah Bamu lodged an
urgent chamber application to stop the disciplinary hearings, arguing doing so would be sub-judicial.

The MDC-T mayor is challenging his suspension from council over 16 counts of misconduct and insubordination.

This was after the State, represented by Rutendo Manimanzi, consented to arguments advanced by James’ lawyers that it had no plausible defence at law to oppose the application.

Last week, the mayor’s lawyers walked out of the hearing on the basis that the hearing was sub-judice and unprocedural.

The lawyers argued that they could not be party to the proceedings since the matter was already before the High Court, where James had lodged an appeal.

Chombo suspended James in January 2012 citing allegations of misconduct.

James is being charged of contravening Section 114(1)(d)(ii) of the Urban Council’s Act (Chapter 29:15).

Some of the charges include James’ refusal to recruit 180 contract grasscutters in December last year.

He accused fellow councillors and council officials of corruption during an address at a public meeting.

James is also being accused of promising bonus payments to council workers without approval and failing to attend crucial council meetings.

He is alleged to have demanded benefits equivalent to full-time employees without the consent of his fellow councillors.

Council accused James of refusing to authorise council’s bid to borrow $1,7m from the Development Bank of Zimbabwe although the deal had received council’s approval.

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