Businessman, magistrate in corruption storm

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© KWEKWE businessman Shephered Tundiya is at the centre of the disappearance of two cars that were held as exhibits after he allegedly posed as a lawyer and caused Kwekwe resident magistrate to issue orders for their release.
Magistrate Story Rushambwa, 48, and clerk of court Bright Mpiyabo, 45, were released on $2 000 bail when they appeared before Harare regional magistrate Bianca Makwande charged with criminal abuse of office.
The matter was remanded to January 17 with the duo being ordered to continue residing at present addresses and not interfere with witnesses until the case is finalised.
Prosecutor Panganai Chiutsi alleged that sometime in October last year, a Toyota Hilux was impounded from John Mapurazi by the Police Anti-Corruption Unit as an exhibit in a fraud case that was being handled by the Bulawayo Magistrates Court.
The car had been fraudulently imported into the country and was handed over to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority(Zimra) for customs management pending finalisation of the fraud trial.
It was alleged that on December 27, Mapurazi made an application seeking the release of the motor vehicle and Mpiyabo kept the record until Rushambwa returned from leave.
The court heard that Rushambwa then presided over the application in the absence of the applicant, Mapurazi, who was now being represented by Tundiya, who is not a legal practitioner.
Rushambwa heard Tundiya’s application and went on to grant an order for release of the Toyota Hilux. According to the State, the vehicle remains an exhibit in a criminal trial at Bulawayo Magistrates Court and in breach of import regulations.
However, after Rushambwa authorised its release, the car can no longer be located and is required as an exhibit when the trial continues on February 20.
The State claims that it has been prejudiced of possible revenue in the form of customs duty that was supposed to be paid for the car.
It was further alleged that, under similar circumstances in September 2018, a white Mercedes Benz that had been smuggled from South Africa into Zimbabwe was impounded form Tundiya as suspected stolen property.
The car was held by Zimra pending finalisation of investigations by South Africa police services. Tundiya made an application before Rushambwa for release of the car which was granted. The car can no longer be located and is supposed to be presented as an exhibit.

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