Magistrate arrested for allegedly receiving $1 600 as bribe
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Mberewere (44) was yesterday arraigned before Gweru regional magistrate Mr Morgan Nemadire facing a charge of criminal abuse of office. He was not asked to plead and was remanded to 5 September on his own cognisance.
For the State, Mr Tafadzwa Mpariwa told the court that on 12 June 2012 and at Gokwe magistrate courts, Mberewere retrieved a record number 592-2012 of four prisoners namely Steward Seramwe, Anafu Charuma, Ganizani Anderson Phiri and Petros Sibanda who were in remand at Gokwe Prison.
The four prisoners who are inyangas were facing two charges, that of extortion after they allegedly demanded six cattle from Gokwe villagers suspected to have been engaging in witchcraft.
It is the State's case that Mberewere had denied the four bail during their initial appearance.
Mr Mpariwa said Mberewere who had made prior communication with one of the prisoners' wife, Ms Stella Mbaula, then went to Gokwe Prison where he released the four upon paying $50 bail each without communicating it to the prosecutor who was handling the case.
Mr Mpariwa said notes on the four prisoners' record had no indications that the prosecutor, Mr Tineyi Tirigo, had made submissions on the attitude to the granting of bail.
Mr Mpariwa said the four prisoners' record again did not capture the nature of their bail application as well as the reasons for granting them bail seven days after he had previously denied them freedom.
Mr Mpariwa said the inconsistencies leading to the release of the four was established after police who were on patrol to arrest some of the four's accomplices who were still at large met one of the four suspects.
The court heard that the released prisoners later opened up to the police on patrol that they had paid $1 600 to facilitate their release to senior court officials at Gokwe magistrates courts, leading to the arrest of Mberewere.
Meanwhile, a Shurugwi clerk of court was yesterday arraigned before Gweru provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa facing a charge of criminal abuse of office for allegedly soliciting and receiving $100 from a suspect's wife.
Joseph Fundai (37) pleaded not guilty to the charge and was remanded to 30 August on $50 bail.
For the State Mr Michael Mhene told the court that on 10 July 2012, and at Shurugwi magistrate courts, Fundai approached the wife to one of the suspects, Difference Kangausaru who was facing a charge of stock theft and indicated to her that he could facilitate a lesser sentence for him.
Mr Mhene said the accused then took Kangausaru's wife, Ms Ribina Moyo to an office where he then demanded $100 to facilitate the lesser sentence for her husband.
Mr Mhene said soon after the court hearing, Kangausaru who had been released on his own cognisance was later told by his wife that she had paid the $100 to Fundai. Kangausaru reported the matter to the police leading to Fundai's arrest.
The $100 was recovered.
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