THE tribunal record containing proceedings and a determination which absolved former chief magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe on a charge of criminal abuse of office has gone missing, Justice Felistas Chatukuta heard yesterday as the trial of the former top magistrate continued at the High Court.
Guvamombe is facing charges of criminal abuse of office, and/or alternatively defeating the course of justice during his tenure as the country’s top magistrate.
Proceedings were adjourned on three occasions yesterday as the State and the defence tried to find common ground on the way forward after it emerged that the full record of tribunal proceedings conducted by Justice Herbert Mandeya, was missing with only a few pages made available by the State.
Guvamombe’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange then applied for the trial to focus on the second count which was also marred by controversy as the State sought to seek admission of a bundle of documents purportedly supplied by the defence. But Samukange again challenged their production.
Justice Chatukuta, however, expressed concern over the manner in which the matter had been handled, highlighting that the court was not pleased with the delays.
The State called its first witness, regional magistrate Elijah Singano to testify on what transpired regarding the attachments of former Cabinet ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira who were law students with the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).
Singano said he was the provincial magistrate for Harare province when Mandiwanzira and Kasukuwere were deployed for attachment by the UZ, adding that since both were facing criminal charges, they were posted to the civil courts where they were later withdrawn after concerns had been raised about them.
He said there was no anomaly in accepting them, adding the two were part of over 40 students who had been referred by the university for attachment.
He further said there was nothing barring the duo from being attached to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) as students because the Constitution said they were presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
The second witness to testify was the deputy secretary for the JSC Thembinkosi Msipa who told the court that students from universities apply for attachment in various departments and the secretary then decides if there was capacity for them to be taken on board.
Msipa said when Guvamombe received a letter from UZ for student attachment, he should have referred the matter to the JSC for consideration, but he failed to do so.
The trial continues today.