Senior Magistrate Challenges Suspension Over $20 Bribe

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By Mary Taruvinga

A senior magistrate based at the Karoi magistrates’ court has filed an urgent application at the High Court challenging her suspension after she allegedly accepted a $20 bribe.

Amanda Muridzo was suspended earlier this year after she was accused of teaming up with a clerk of court, Shelter Kachirika to accept a $20 bribe in a maintenance case before her.

In her application, Muridzo said she had since been cleared of the charge and she should reinstated without loss of salaries and benefits.

The respondent in the matter is the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

Through her attorneys, Dube, Manikai, Hwacha Legal Practitioners, Muridzo argues that she had been unlawfully placed on further suspension of three months without pay and benefits by the JSC on November 18 this year.

She contested the suspension through a letter dated November 22 but she has not received any feedback from the employer.

Although the bribery charge is still pending at the courts, Muridzo was on October 26 acquitted of the charge by an internal disciplinary committee set-up by JSC.

“The purported extension of the suspension period is allegedly for criminal proceedings against the applicant presently pending before the criminal courts, which has no bearing on the labour matter wherein applicant has already been acquitted and ought to be reinstated without loss of salary and benefits,” her application to the High Court reads. 

Muridzo said if the High Court failed to address her matter urgently she would suffer financially and her reputation would be damaged.

“If the unlawful suspension is not uplifted and applicant reinstated to her employment, she will suffer irreparable harm in that the further suspension being without pay and benefits, applicant who is a family woman and now jobless, will not be able to take care of herself and the welfare of her family,” her lawyers submitted.

They added, “The applicant is a senior Magistrate at Karoi Court and prominent figure in the public domain such that if the unlawful suspension is perpetuated coupled with the grave allegations of misconduct levelled against her for which she has already been acquitted, risks losing her image in the public and the possibility of getting alternative employment.”

The case is still pending.