Under fire Hodzi appears in court to clear corruption allegations

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By Mary Taruvinga

PROSECUTOR-General (PG), Kumbirai Hodzi Thursday appeared before Harare Magistrate, Morgan Nemadire to answer to bribery allegations amid accusations that he unlawfully stopped the trial of a Harare man who allegedly used high-profile people’s names to swindle unsuspecting clients of various amounts of money.

Hodzi on Wednesday ordered the trial of Leon Gomani (29) who is facing more than 20 fraud counts to be stopped when his defence case was already being heard after his application for discharge flopped.

In a surprise turn of events, prosecutor Sheila Mupindu, asked for the matter to be stopped for three weeks, saying she had allegedly received a communiqué from Hodzi.

Nemadire would have none of it and summoned Hodzi.

“We do court applications in terms of the law…I can sense corruption in this matter. Tell him to come to court tomorrow (today),” Nemadire said.

When he appeared Hodzi claimed there had been a breakdown of communication and all was in order arguing his order had been made to protect the integrity of the prosecution.

“I appear in this court for a number of reasons, more so because I respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“After yesterday’s submissions, everything is very much in order. there is nothing amiss as far as that is concerned. I gave an order as PG… if you understand my duty is to protect the integrity of the prosecution. I act where I believe the integrity of the prosecution might be at risk,” said Hodzi.

The PG said he only asked that the matter be stood down for a few minutes.

“I was seized with the swearing in of High Court Judges. I needed time to investigate the nature of complaints I received in this matter,” he said.

Hodzi then demanded that the matter be heard in-camera as he was going to disclose classified information.

“This is to ensure the integrity of the prosecution,” said Hodzi.

Although he accepted, Nemadire chastised Hodzi regarding professionalism.

“Before we go there, is that how you handle complaints in a matter that has gone through trial…I then don’t expect you to just phone and stop proceedings. I don’t expect an instruction to stop proceedings,” said Nemadire.

This is not the first time Hodzi has been accused of interfering with cases being handled in the courts.

Last week, he allegedly ordered a magistrate to hear the bail hearing of an artiste who rose to fame after composing the “ED Pfeee” jingle, Admire Sanyanga.

This was despite that another Magistrate, had already made a ruling in which Sanyanga was denied bail and ordered to approach the High Court.

Sanyanga was subsequently freed on bail at the same courts.

In the present case, Judicial Service Commission secretary Walter Chikwana and Zanu PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa testified as their names were the ones used to swindle several people.

Former Cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Chief Justice Luke Malaba were also expected to testify in the matter.