Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Zimbabwean judge who resigned before graft probe to write outstanding judgements

by Staff reporter
28 Nov 2023 at 07:50hrs | Views
A former High Court judge, Webster Chinamora, who resigned amid a corruption investigation, is being permitted to finalize pending judgments in what legal experts argue is a questionable arrangement. Chinamora faced corruption allegations and quit just before a tribunal, chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Ahmed Ebrahim, was set to probe his fitness for office. While it is customary for resigning judges to complete outstanding judgments, critics contend that Chinamora's case is distinct because he was effectively suspended when the tribunal was appointed. His resignation prior to the hearings raises concerns that he might be evading a potentially unfavorable verdict.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba has come under scrutiny for allegedly shielding Chinamora, particularly after a Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommendation in March for an investigation. President Emmerson Mnangagwa acted only after rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa's open letter threatened legal action against the President for neglecting his oath of office.

Sources reveal that Chief Justice Malaba requested Chinamora to finalize all outstanding judgments at the time of his resignation. Lawyers anonymously speaking to argue that any judgments issued by Chinamora post-resignation could carry suspicions of corruption, considering his suspension by law upon the tribunal's appointment.

Legal experts emphasize the irregularity of Chinamora's situation, as his resignation occurred after suspension, meaning he lacked the authority to make legal determinations. Critics point out the potential consequences of allowing Chinamora to write judgments unchecked, suggesting it might encourage further corruption without repercussions.

Concerns extend to the jurisdiction of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which may be compromised due to Chinamora's resignation amid the tribunal's appointment. Critics argue that Chief Justice Malaba's actions have granted Chinamora an opportunity to dictate his pension terms, raising questions about the potential misconduct embedded in the judgments he is writing.

JSC secretary Walter Chikwana, currently out of the country, stated that, according to the law, a resigning judge can be permitted to conclude outstanding matters, but he did not provide specific details on the Chinamora case.

Source - zimlive