Magistrate in dock for abuse of office

23 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Magistrate in dock for abuse of office Felix Chauromwe


Paul Pindani in CHINHOYI
A KAROI provincial magistrate, who allegedly showed favour and removed three suspects from remand, contravening an order issued by Chief Justice Luke Malaba during the Covid-19-induced lockdown, has appeared in court.
Felix Chauromwe appeared at Chinhoyi Magistrates Court before Deputy Chief Magistrate, Felix Mandaza, charged with criminal abuse of office as defined in Section 174(1)(a) of the Criminal Law Act, Chapter 9:23.

Chauromwe was granted $30 000 bail, coupled with stringent conditions, which include residing at his given address, not to set foot at the Karoi Magistrates Court premises and not interfering with State witnesses.

He was remanded to June 24.

The complainant is the State, represented by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Investigation Officer, Timothy Guta.

Prosecutors Review Nikisi and Tendai Tapi told the court that on July, 22 last year, Alois Togarepi, Obvious Vheremu and Mussa Anesi, who were facing a charge of criminal abuse of office, appeared on routine remand before Chauromwe.

The trio’s lawyer indicated that he wanted to make an application for further refusal of remand, premised on the fact that his clients had not been served with State papers and their rights to liberty were infringed.

Chauromwe allowed the application for further refusal of remand to be made contrary to the Proactive Direction 6 of 2021, issued by Chief Justice Malaba.

By doing so, he contravened Section 6 of 2021, which was meant to govern the court’s operations, filing of pleadings and processes and handling of cases before the courts during the Level Four national lockdown, with effect from July 22, 2021.

The order meant that all pending criminal cases, which were remanded to dates within the period July 22-27, were rolled over and remanded to July 27-30.

Prosecutor Pazvichaenda Munakira opposed the application due to the fact that they were under localised lockdown, as well as national lockdown, which made it difficult for ZACC officers to bring the dockets to court, and furnish the trio with State papers.

He said the matter should be further remanded until the situation normalised.

On July 23, Chauromwe, well aware of the provisions of Practice Direction Number 6 of 2021, and in particular paragraph 15, ruled that the rights of the trio were being infringed.

The court heard this was despite the fact that the trio had only been arrested on May 13 2021, and that this was their third remand appearance.

It was also despite the fact that the Chinhoyi and Karoi areas had been declared Covid-19 hotspots and were placed under localised lockdown.

Therefore, investigating officers from Harare, could not take completed dockets to Karoi.

The ruling resulted in the removal of the trio on remand.

Chauromwe, according to the State, acted contrary to his duties as a Public Officer by showing favour to the trio when he entertained the application of refusal of further remand.

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