Circus As Guvamombe Trial Is Postponed

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE trial of former chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe failed to take place Monday after the state struggled to respond to some if the issues raised by the court.

The trial resume Tuesday.

Guvamombe is seeking acquittal after the state closed its case.

He is facing criminal abuse of office and defeating the course of justice charges.

He landed in trouble after he allegedly offered an internship to the exiled former minister Saviour Kasukuwere and former cabinet minister Supa Mandiwanzira, then University of Zimbabwe law students, at a time they were facing criminal charges at the same courts.

Parties have since filed their written submissions with regards to the application for discharge filed by Guvamombe through his lawyer Jonathan Samukange but the court needed clarification on some issues, which prosecutor Tozivepi Mafuwa failed to respond to stating that his colleague, Witness Mabhaudhi, privy to the ongoings was away on official business.

Guvamombe got in trouble after he offered internship to Kasukuwere and Mandiwanzira who were both Law students at the University of Zimbabwe.

At that time the two former ministers were facing criminal charges.

Guvamombe is also accused of having interfered with a case involving his friend’s son and forcing a magistrate, Elijah Makomo to recuse himself.

But in his application for discharge, Guvamombe said no witness nailed him.

He said evidence by Judicial Services Commission (JSC) secretary, Walter Chikwanha, and Elisha Singano who was provincial head at Harare magistrate court exonerated him instead.

Only Makomo had tried to nail him but his evidence was not supported by any of the witnesses.

“With all due respect his evidence was of no value at all to the State’s case one can assume that Chikwanha had been called to support the allegation,” Guvamombe said.

He said no witnesses corroborated Makomo’s evidence as such it should not be considered.

“His evidence is not corroborated by anyone either in writing or verbatim it is only his word against that of the applicant who says that he did not pressurise him and the attitude of the applicant is confirmed by the fact that he was not dealing with the matter personally instead he allowed the whole hierarchy to be involved,” said his lawyer.

“In the circumstances, there is no basis on which this court can accept the evidence of Makomo which in our view appears to be vindictive and sadistic in nature.”

Allegations are that Guvamombe offered Kasukuwere and Mandiwanzira internship at Harare magistrate court knowing it was prejudicial to their pending cases as they could easily interfere with their records.

In the other count, he is accused of having substituted Makomo with a magistrate from Bulawayo resulting in the acquittal of his business partner’s son Nathan Mnaba.

Guvamombe’S trial commenced in October last year, some months after he was cleared of wrongdoing by a tribunal.

It is his contention that he was hated by his colleagues for not tolerating nonsense.

Guvamombe argues that the charges against him were trumped up, all motivated by malice on the part of his erstwhile colleagues who are being vindictive after having reprimanded them on divers’ occasions from committing sexual harassment on female staff including magistrates and failure to use retention funds to improve operation in the department for example at Harare Magistrate Court litigants use bucket system in all the toilets as there is no running water.