Lesleigh Chidawanyika, Court Reporter
Suspended Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe’s application for refusal of further remand hit a brick wall yesterday after magistrate Bianca Makwande deferred the matter to December 5.
Through lawyer Jonathan Samkange, Guvamombe had made an application arguing that it was high time for the State to remove the accused person on remand since no progress had been made.
“Your worship we are tired of coming here; last time we came here the State promised us that it was going to furnish us with a trial date but up to now nothing has been made.
“If the State fears that the accused person, if removed from remand, will abscond court that is not true.
“Last time he went to South Africa to attend the graduation ceremony for his daughter and he came back and surrendered his passport.
“Maybe the State has something against the accused person.
“The accused person will not go anywhere and there is no prejudice the State will suffer if he is removed from remand.
“After all, he is not going to be convicted,” said Samkange.
However the State said it was ready for the trial.
Allegations against Guvamombe arose sometime in June 2017, when magistrate Elijah Makomo was assigned a criminal case in which one Nathan Mnaba was the accused and Nighert Savania the complainant.
During the trial, numerous applications were allegedly made by the defence but were dismissed due to lack of merit.
This allegedly prompted the defence to approach Makomo, who was presiding over the matter, on June 26 2017 demanding that he recuse himself from the case.
Makomo was said to have turned down the request and advised the defence to file its application with the High Court or make a formal application with him.
On the return date, the parties reported back and informed him that they had not filed a formal application of recusal, instead maintained that he should simply recuse himself without any application, the court heard.
He declined and deferred the matter to July 18 to allow them to comply with the court’s directive.
On the same date, the court heard that Hosea Mujaya, a senior regional magistrate and then Makomo’s superior, advised him to report to Guvamombe’s office with Nathan’s court record.
Makomo complied and he was told by Guvamombe in the presence of Mujaya that he was mishandling the matter and as such he should recuse himself despite that there was no formal application from the defence for his recusal.
The court heard that Guvamombe went on to handle the complainant despite the fact that he had a previous business relationship with Nathan’s father, Manson Mnaba. Guvamombe had in June 2011 bought a piece of land, stand number 50 Carrick Creagh, Borrowdale Estate, Harare, measuring five hectares.
As a result of Guvamombe’s alleged interference and unlawful instruction, Makomo recused himself despite that there was neither a formal application nor lawful reason for his recusal. Guvamombe, the court further heard, eventually allocated Nathan’s record to another magistrate and was later found not guilty and acquitted.
According to the State, Guvamombe acted contrary and inconsistent to his duties as a public officer by involving himself in a matter he had a conflict of interest in and unlawfully interfered with the magistrate. He is also charged for giving
Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira places of attachment at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts since the two had a pending court cases.