Tomana wants magistrate to recuse self from case

HARARE - Suspendend Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana yesterday petitioned the magistrate who handled his bail application on a criminal abuse of duty case to recuse himself so as to avoid judicial bias.

Tomana’s case has been handled by Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe since the initial court appearance.

“The position you have been put in by the judicial system is untenable. It makes the public doubt the legitimacy of this process and begins to ask questions to which they cannot answer,” said advocate Thabani Mpofu, Tomana’s lawyer.

“…why should the judicial officer who heard evidence relating to core issues in a matter be made to hear further evidence? I don’t suggest that his worship is biased but he may find himself committing judicial bias — something which is not understood at Fourth Street bus terminus.

Mpofu said he was not challenging the magistrate’s discretion but wanted to make sure that justice prevailed.

“All I ask is that these submissions torment your conscience, could another judicial officer just deal with the matter so that no questions are asked,” added Mpofu.

“We don’t want the public to say that the accused person appeared under circumstances where questions were asked but answers never found.”

Prosecutors Gwinyai Shumba and Timothy Makoni did not respond to the submissions because it had not been presented in the form of an application.

Tomana is alternatively charged with obstructing the course of justice after he withdrew charges of ‘‘possession of weaponry for insurgence and money laundering for terrorism’’ against Slilas Pfupa, 37, and Solomon Makumbe, 29 — who were allegedly caught attempting to bomb President Robert Mugabe’s Alpha Omega Dairies.

Pfupa and Makumbe were jointly charged with Zimbabwe People’s Front political party official, Owen Kuchata, 34, — who is currently serving nine years for the crime — and Zimbabwe National Army corporal Borman Ngwenya, 30 who was acquitted on insurgence charges.

However, the duo was summoned back to court and charged with possession of weaponry for sabotage and the allegations were disputed by their lawyers before the case was referred to the Constitutional Court.

According to court papers, the four were placed on remand on January 25, before their request for remand placement forms were taken to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

At the NPA, the national director — public prosecution Florence Ziyambi, her deputy Nelson Mutsonziwa, chief law officer Michael Rutendo Mugabe and Chris Mutangadura gave the greenlight for the four to be placed on remand, claiming that there was reasonable suspicion that they had committed the offence.

Comments (1)

tomana baya...you are cruel

maiweejoe - 8 July 2016

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