PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has fired Supreme Court judge Francis Bere, after a three-member tribunal that was set up in March concluded that he was not fit to remain in office, the Daily News reports.
The tribunal was made up of retired Justice Simbi Mubako and lawyers Rekayi Maphosa and Takawira Nzombe.
“Following the advice of the Judicial Services Commission that the question of removing honourable Justice Francis Bere ought to be investigated, the president, acting in terms … of the Constitution, appointed … a tribunal to inquire into the question of removal from office of the said judge.
“The tribunal has completed its investigations and has recommended that Bere be removed from office for acts of gross misconduct … the president accordingly … has removed the honourable judge from office with immediate effect,” Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, said yesterday.
The tribunal found Bere guilty of telephoning Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) lawyer Itai Ndudzo, asking him to consider settling a civil dispute pitting Zinara and Fremus Enterprises — that was allegedly owned by the judge’s relatives.
The complaint was first raised before deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza during a court hearing. Ndudzo was then asked to make the complaint in writing.
Bere denied the allegations, but admitted telephoning Ndudzo as a personal friend — a relationship that he claimed started when they were both members of the Zifa Ethics Committee.
However, Ndudzo denied having a personal relationship with Bere, saying he was surprised to receive a call from him trying to influence him to favour his relatives.
Bere’s dismissal came despite him approaching the High Court challenging the constitutionality of the tribunal — on the grounds that its lifespan had lapsed before concluding its investigations.
The tribunal also completed its probe in his absence after he walked out, citing the “lifespan” argument.