By Mary Taruvinga
THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Tuesday lost its appeal against the granting of bail to suspended Chief Magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe after the High Court ruled that they submitted their application late.
Guvamombe is accused of approving the internship of former cabinet ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira at the magistrates’ court in the full knowledge they were facing criminal charges.
Mandiwanzira and Kasukuwere, both law students at the University of Zimbabwe, are being tried for corruption offences allegedly committed during their time in government.
Guvamombe was recently granted $3 000 bail, coupled with stringent reporting conditions by acting chief magistrate, Munamato Mutevedzi.
Unsatisfied with the decision, the National Prosecuting Authority appealed to the High Court while arguing the top magistrate was not a suitable candidate for bail.
Prosecutors further argued that he could interfere with witnesses.
But High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi ruled that the appeal was filed out of time.
“It must follow in my determination that time limit of 48 hours given to the prosecutor general (PG) according to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act cannot be extended.
“The right to appeal was lost and lapsed on January 15 2019 and having been filed out of time, it becomes irrelevant and the case is therefore struck off the roll,” ruled the judge.
Guvamombe was arrested over two weeks ago and was suspended from office by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on the same day.
In granting him bail, Mutevedzi ruled that the prosecution, which had opposed bail on the grounds that Guvamombe would interfere with witnesses or flee the country, had failed to present meaningful arguments that would warrant denial of bail.
The state alleged Guvamombe tried to flee to India after faking an ailment when he got wind of his impending arrest.
Prosecutors also alleged that he threatened to expose dossiers against witnesses if they ever nailed him.
This resulted in one of the witnesses, resident magistrate at Harare Magistrates court, Elisha Singano giving conflicting statements.