Guvamombe trial continues
THE trial of former chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe continued yesterday, with the State leading evidence on the first count where he is accused of exerting pressure on a subordinate to recuse himself from a fraud trial.
Guvamombe is answering to two counts of criminal abuse of office before High Court judge Justice Felicia Chatukuta relating to the alleged unlawful instruction and offering work related learning places to former cabinet ministers Supa Mandiwanzira and Saviour Kasukuwere when they had pending criminal cases.
Prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi yesterday led evidence from former magistrate and now the head of Policy and Legal Services in the Judicial Service Commission Elijah Makomo who presided over a fraud case involving Nathan Mnaba and Nighert Savania in 2017.
Makomo told the court how Mnaba and Savania exerted pressure on him by filing complaint after complaint against him before the issue spilled into Guvamombe’s office.
“Mnaba’s lawyers then came to me asking that I recuse myself from the case. I asked for the grounds for recusal and they seemed to have none, but just wanted me off the case. I postponed the matter because the defence indicated that an application would be filed in the High Court, but on the next hearing I was surprised that they had not taken any action,” Makomo testified.
“They appeared to me in chambers insisting again that I should recuse myself and the State opposed that.
“The matter was postponed several times because of that until Savania hired a watch-in-brief lawyer and also filed their own complaint regarding the numerous postponements.”
Makomo said he was then called to Guvamombe’s office who allegedly asked why he was not recusing himself from the matter.
The court heard on a different day, Makomo was summoned back to Guvamombe’s office and this time Mnaba had made allegations that he had received a US$8 000 bribe from Savania.
He said Guvamombe then instructed him to recuse himself from the case and he complied.
The trial continues today.