ED sets up tribunal to probe Justice Ndewere

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has set up a three member tribunal to probe High Court judge, Justice Erica Ndewere, if she is still fit to remain in office following allegations of misconduct against her.
In an extraordinary Government Gazette yesterday, Mnangagwa appointed retired Justice Simbi Veke Mubako,
and lawyers Charles Warara and Yvone Masvora to probe Ndewere.

“Now, therefore, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President, I do, by this declaration… direct that the
tribunal shall be held for a period of five months from the date of swearing in of members, at such appropriate venue as shall be determined by the tribunal…direct that the report shall be availed at the conclusion of the inquiry,” read the Government Gazette.

The tribunal is expected to report back to Mnangagwa within a month from the day of concluding the inquiry.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry secretary Virgina Mabhiza was appointed secretary to the
tribunal.

The setting up of the probe team came despite Ndewere approaching the High Court seeking an interdict to stop
Mnangagwa from appointing the tribunal.

In her application, Ndewere claimed she was a victim of judicial interference by Chief Justice Luke Malaba
and Judge President George Chiweshe who she said were punishing her for granting bail to former Tourism minister Priscilla Mupfumira and MDC Allice deputy chairperson Job Sikhala.

She argued that the charges of misconduct against her should have been handled internally by the Judicial Service
Commission.

Her application is yet to be heard by the High Court. Ndewere is accused of quashing a prison sentence against a convicted thief, Kenneth Majecha, and substituting it with an order for the trial magistrate to consider community service.

In coming up with the decision, Ndewere allegedly considered that the convict was a youthful offender and
had no previous convictions, but it was later established that Majecha had been convicted thrice before.

The second complaint is that in the Majecha case, Ndewere took five months before reviewing the ruling in October when it had been brought before her in May.

The third complaint is that Ndewere failed to meet expected standards of a judge in that on July 7, 2017 she was warned to improve her performance and got a second warning on February 6, 2019 after failing to perform any
work since January 14, 2019.

The court heard that Ndewere had 12 matters in reserved judgments as at June 30, 2019 and failed to deliver
judgments for more than two years. Mnangagwa recently fired High Court judge Francis Bere for misconduct.

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