Guvamombe case takes new twist



THE tribunal record containing proceedings and a determination which absolved former chief magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe from charges of criminal abuse of office has gone missing, Justice Felistas Chatukuta heard yesterday as the trial of the former top magistrate continued at the High Court.

Guvamombe is facing charges of criminal abuse of office, and or alternatively defeating the course of justice during his tenure as the country’s top magistrate.

Proceedings were adjourned on three occasions yesterday as the State and the defence tried to find a common ground on the way forward after it emerged that the full record of tribunal proceedings conducted by Justice Herbert Mandeya, with only a few pages made available by the State.

Guvamombe’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange then applied for the trial to start with the second count which was also marred by controversies as the State sought to seek admission of a bundle of documents purportedly supplied by the defence. But Samukange again challenged its production.

Justice Chatukuta however, expressed concern over the manner by which the matter had been handled highlighting that the court was not pleased with the delays.

The State then called its first witness, regional magistrate Elijah Singano to testify on what transpired regarding the attachments of former Cabinet ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira who were law students from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

Singano said he was the provincial magistrate for Harare province when Mandiwanzira and Kasukuwere were deployed for attachment by the UZ, adding since both were facing criminal charges, they were posted to the civil courts where they were later withdrawn after concerns had been raised about them.

He said as students there was no anomaly, adding the two were part of over 40 students that had been referred by the university for attachment.

He further said there was nothing barring the duo from being attached to the JSC as students because the Constitution says they are presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court of law.

The second witness to testify was the deputy secretary for the JSC Thembinkosi Msipa who told the court that students from universities apply for attachments at various departments in the JSC and the secretary then decides if there is capacity for them to be deployed or not.

Msipa said when Guvamombe received a letter from UZ for student attachment, he should have referred such to the JSC for consideration but he failed to do so.

The trial continues today.