Zvikomborero Parafini 

THE trial of Ivy Kombo and her husband admire Kasi took a dramatic twist yesterday after the State subpoenaed Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba to testify, despite the earlier dismissal of its application for the court to call her as a witness.

The State, represented by Anesu Chirenje, initially made an application seeking the court to invoke its rights to call Justice Chirawu-Mugomba to testify as a court witness.

The application was dismissed two weeks ago.

The defence claimed when the trial started, Chirenje didn’t serve Kombo and her accomplices, who are her husband Kasi and Huggins Duri from the Council of Legal Education, with a statement from the judge.

Kasi and Kombo are facing allegations of acquiring conversion certificates to practice law in Zimbabwe without writing the conversion examinations.

 Chirenje intended to lead evidence from the judge, which prompted the couple’s lawyers to raise an objection.

Admire Rubaya, representing the couple, said:

“The State is wrong to claim that there’s no law that bars them from calling any witness to testify, my colleague forgets that this country is a constitutional democracy, and this constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any conduct inconsistent with it is invalid.

“The accused persons are being charged by the State and the State is conducting itself in a way that violates the constitution.

“The accused persons have a right to be informed promptly of their offences upon arrest and to be given time and facilities to prepare for a defence.

“When this trial commenced, the accused persons were served with various statements and those statements didn’t include a statement from the honourable judge. 

“They instructed legal practitioners based on those statements, and exhibits, these are the facilities to prepare for a defence and, if she is to testify, they will not be given a chance to amend their defence outline which would be unfair in the circumstances.

“The State attempted to serve us with a statement, which the investigating officer Owen Mtembwa confirmed that he recorded during trial, and it should be noted that we have cross examined witnesses who cannot be recalled, which would be unfair to the trio.”

Chirenje argued that the State was within its rights to call the judge to testify because the couple claimed in their defence that they were exempted from writing exams by the board of the Council for legal education.

Justice Chirawu-Mugomba is the chairperson of the board.

Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka deferred the matter to Monday May 27, to make a finding on whether the judge will testify or not.

This ruling may be a defining moment in this case that has been ongoing since December 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *