Mathew Masinge, Court Reporter
The High Court has cleared former Chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe in his alleged involvement to place ex-ministers Supa Mandiwanzira and Saviour Kasukuwere on attachment at Harare Magistrates’ court where the duo was also on remand.
Guvamombe was facing two counts of abuse of office for allegedly defeating the course of justice and awarding the attachment places without seeking authority from his superiors at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
He had applied for discharge at the close of the State case at the High Court.
In her ruling, Justice Felistas Chatukuta found Guvamombe not guilty on count two.
“With respect to count two, I find the concession by the State that it has not established a prima face case proper.
“There is no evidence on which a reasonable court, acting carefully, might properly convict Guvamombe. The application with regards to count two succeeds.
“The accused is found not guilty and discharged on count two,” ruled Judge Chatukuta.
Prosecuting, the State led by Whisper Mabhaudhi, had conceded that there was conflicting evidence from witnesses including the JSC permanent secretary Walter Chikwanha and Sithembinkosi Msipa.
Chikwanha had told the court that Guvamombe acted lawfully whilst Msipa who was acting secretary at the time was of the view that the former chief should have sought authority before accepting the two and 41 others on attachment.
Mabhaudhi said the application for discharge was merited since there were no guidelines regarding enrolment of attaches at JSC during the said period.
Justice Chatukuta went on to dismiss Guvamombe’s application for discharge on his first count.
“The application for discharge at the close of the State case be and hereby dismissed with respect to count one,” she said.
Guvamombe still has to defend himself in the first count where he is being accused of allegedly recusing former magistrate Elijah Makomo from a case involving his alleged business partner’s son, Nathan Mnaba.
Makomo was allegedly advised to report to Guvamombe’s office with Nathan’s court record and was told that he was mishandling the matter and as such should recuse himself.
It is the State’s case that Guvamombe went on to handle the complainant’s case despite the fact that he had had a previous business relationship with Mnaba’s father.
Mnaba was later acquitted of his charges by another magistrate who was assigned by Guvamombe.
The trial continues this Friday.