Magistrate to face trial for criminal abuse of office

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HIGH Court

BY STAFF REPORTER
HIGH Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has dismissed an application for review filed by a Hurungwe magistrate who faces criminal abuse of office charges.

Amanda Muridzo was arrested while taking a US$20 bribe from David Mazowi, an accused person facing maintenance default charges.

She filed an application for review after the presiding magistrate in the case Bianca Makwande dismissed the application at the end of the state case.

Muridzo later filed a joint application with Mazowi.

But Chitapi ordered that the application for discharge at the end of the state case be dismissed, and that Makwande proceed with the trial.

“The application for the discharge of the applicants was routinely made to test the waters. The evidence against the applicants clearly raised a prima facie of bribery,” Chitapi ruled.

“The applicants must explain the innocence of the trial of events. This is not a reverse onus requirement. The application for discharge was therefore properly determined and there was no irregularity or misdirection committed by the first respondent (Makwande) in her judgment.”

He further ruled that there was no grave injustice shown to be likely to result if the matter proceeded to trial.

Muridzo and Mazowi had cited Makwande and former prosecutor Peter Kachirika as the first and second respondents.

The suspended magistrate was arrested together with Mazowi and a clerk of court at the Karoi Magistrates Court.

Allegations against Muridzo and accomplices are that Mazowi’s ex-wife filed for maintenance for her two minor children on August 27, 2018.

It is alleged the accused persons connived to rule in favour of Mazowi upon payment of a bribe.