By Audience Mutema
BUSINESSMAN Frank Buyanga, has lost a bitter child custody battle with his ex-girlfriend Chantelle Muteswa.
And in a sinister twist to the long-running saga, Buyanga Thursday forced Harare Magistrate Trevor Nyatsanza to rescues himself amid allegations of corruption.
In a ruling delivered, Wednesday, Magistrate Nyatsanza ruled that Muteswa must have sole custody of the two‘s four year-old son.
“The applicant is the sole custodian of the minor child.”
Nyatsanza was due to deliver a ruling in another matter in which Buyanga had sought to enforce an order in which he had been granted access to the child’s passport pending the hearing of an appeal by Muteswa who is represented by Harare lawyer Munyaradzi Bwanya.
But before the judgment was delivered, Buyanga accused the magistrate of “consulting with Respondent (Muteswa) in his absence and outside court premises” demanding that he recuses himself given he was now conflicted.
Nyatasanza is now under investigation by the Judicial Services Commission but before that, the Magistrate referred the passport matter to the High Court and attached the ruling he was due to deliver.
Buyanga had demanded that Nyatsanza gives way to an “impartial magistrate” but by referring the matter to the High Court the Magistrate has effectively placed his rulings as his first line of defence against the allegations.
Bwanya opposed the application describing the accusations against Nyatsanza as baseless and demanded a quick resolution of the issue.
The Magistrate while admitting that the ruling he was to deliver was indeed in Muteswa’s favour, argued he had never met the woman until in an open court.
In announcing his recusal Nyatsanza said: “However given that the ruling is in favour of the respondent, and applicant is the one seeking my recusal, I cannot but recuse myself.
“This is primarily because I did not even know the respondent until the respondent counsel in open court confirmed that the lady present is indeed the one referred to in the complaint.
“I must place it in record that I never met with respondent, nor do I have any association with her. Having no interest in the matter, it can surely proceed before another Magistrate for determination. Justice must after all be seen to be done, it is an instructive that the matter to proceed to a Judge of the High Court first for analysis and for an appropriate order,” Nyatsanza said.
“The entire record of proceedings be placed before the High Court for review and for an order to formally quash the proceedings and order a hearing denova.
“The entire record of proceeding is placed before a Judge of the High Court within 7 days of this order.”