Another blow for suspended judge  

Tendai Kamhungira
SUSPENDED Supreme Court judge Francis Bere has been dealt another blow after the High Court dismissed his application seeking the urgent hearing of his previous request to interdict President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tribunal from commencing an inquiry into his alleged misconduct in the performance of duty.

Bere, who is on suspension, is under investigation over conflict of interest allegations.
Mnangagwa has since sworn in a three-member tribunal comprising former judge Simbi Mubako and lawyers Rekai
Maposa and Takawira Nzombe to investigate the judge.
In a letter to his lawyers Dube, Manikai and Hwacha, the High Court registrar said High Court judge Jester Charewa had ruled that his application was not urgent.
The registrar said the matter had been placed before Charewa who commented: “The relief sought is incompetent on an urgent basis. Removed from the roll of urgent matters,” the registrar said in a letter dated May 21, 2020.
This comes as the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) lawyers, Kantor and Immerman, had also written to the High Court registrar opposing Bere’s application.
“Kindly take notice that the application is opposed in its entirety on a number of grounds including want of urgency,” JSC lawyer Addington Chinake said.
Bere’s urgent chamber application came after the tribunal on May 14, 2020 served him with a charge sheet of the alleged offence. He was asked to give his defence within 10 days.
In the urgent chamber application, Bere sought an order interdicting the tribunal from proceeding with investigations pending the hearing of his previous ordinary court application filed under case number HC 2302/20.
“It is obvious that the charge sheet was served on me immediately after I had filed my court application because the tribunal does not want this honourable court to have an opportunity to determine the validity of the establishment of the tribunal in the first place.
“The procedure of the tribunal is not fixed like that of the High Court Rules, and, as such, the tribunal will, and in all likelihood, conduct inquiry and complete its investigations in the question of my removal from the office of the judge before conclusion of my pending High Court application,” Bere argued.
Bere is accused of having interfered with a pending civil court case involving the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) and his relatives.
Allegations are that Bere telephoned Zinara lawyer Itai Ndudzo of Mutamangira and Associates, asking him to consider settling a civil dispute pitting Zinara and Fremus Enterprises (owned by the judge’s relatives).
The complaint was first raised before deputy chief  justice Elizabeth Gwaunza during a court hearing before Ndudzo was asked to put the complaint in writing.

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