Bribe accused prosecutor appeals at Supreme Court

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By Staff Reporter

PROSECUTOR, Auxilia Mungwaira, who was convicted for soliciting a U$1 000 bribe in 2012 is seeking to mount an appeal against conviction and sentence at the Supreme Court after the lower court acquitted her alleged accomplice.

Mungwaira was found guilty of accepting a bribe in 2012 but is yet to serve the term after she applied for a stay of her sentence and conviction.

Her alleged accomplice was cleared of wrongdoing on appeal.

The High court has granted her application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mungwaira was stationed at Harare Magistrates court where one Shinewell Mutendereki was appearing on charges of theft of trust property.

Mutendereki’s sister approached Mungwaira to ask her whether her brother could be released if the complainant in the theft case was to be reimbursed.

Mungwaira then asked the sister to give her US$1000 to facilitate his release.

However, the sister reported the matter to the police, who set up a sting operation.

On 24 January, 2012, Mutendereki’s sister proceeded to Mungwaira’s office with the money.

She was then directed to another office belonging to another prosecutor ,who is Mungwaira’s friend, to hand over the money.

The two were then subsequently arrested and sentenced to 24 months in prison, of which 12 months were suspended on conditions of good behavior.

Mungwaira and her co-accused appealed against both conviction and sentence to the High Court.

The court upheld the accomplice’s appeal but dismissed Mungwaira’s.

This prompted her to file the present application, seeking leave to challenge the High Court’s decision.

She complained that the lower court erred in convicting her when her co-accused was given a benefit of doubt and acquitted in circumstances that warranted equal treatment.

“The court a quo grossly erred and misdirected itself in confirming the Magistrate court’s sentence of the appellant of 24 months imprisonment when alternative sentences were not objectively assessed, the court was not supposed to impose a direct sentence of imprisonment before objectively assessing other alternative sentences.”

In passing his judgement, High court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi granted her the relief to approach the Supreme court ruling that she had prospects of success on appeal.

“In relation to the evidence linking the applicant to the offence, the judgment noted that the applicant had denied any link with the money.

The court noted that there was evidence that the applicant had been to the accomplice’s office before the complainant handed money to the accomplice who was acquitted.

“I did not find anywhere in the judgment wherein the court dealt with why the applicant’s denial should have been dismissed as false let alone beyond a reasonable doubt. It is my view that the effect of such failure may well bring about a different result in the Supreme Court on appeal.

“It is ordered that; the applicant is granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the whole judgment of the High Court judgment dated 21 June, 2021 dismissing her appeal,” ruled the judge.