The trial date for suspended chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has been set for April 9 before a regional magistrate on two cases of criminal abuse of office he is facing.
Guvamombe, through his lawyer Jonathan Samukange yet again put a notice of his application for refusal to be tried at the magistrate’s court where all magistrates are his subordinates.
Guvamombe will appear before court on Wednesday to make an application for cancellation of his reporting conditions and also to have his travel restrictions removed. As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered not to travel outside a 50km radius of Harare without the knowledge of his arresting officer.
Charges against Guvamombe arose sometime in June 2017, when magistrate Elijah Makomo was assigned a criminal case in which one Nathan Mnaba was the accused and Nighert Savania the complainant.
During the trial, numerous applications were allegedly made by the defense which were dismissed due to lack of merit. This allegedly prompted the defence to approach Makomo, who was presiding over the matter on June 26, 2017 demanding that he recuses himself from the case.
Makomo is said to have turned down the request and advised them to file their application with the High Court or make a formal application with him. On the return date, the parties reported back and informed him that they had not filed a formal application of recusal, instead they maintained that he should simply recuse himself without any application, the court heard.
He declined and deferred the matter to July 18 to allow them to comply with the court’s directive. On the same date, the court heard that Hosea Mujaya, a senior regional magistrate and then Makomo’s superior advised him to report to Guvamombe’s office with Nathan’s court record. Makomo complied and he was told by Guvamombe in the presence of Mujaya that he was mishandling the matter and as such he should recuse himself despite that there was no formal application from the defense for his recusal.
The court heard that Guvamombe went on to handle the complainant despite the fact that he had had a previous business relationship with Nathan’s father, Manson Mnaba. Guvamombe had in June 2011 bought a piece of land, stand 50 Carrick Creagh, Borrowdale Estate measuring 5 hectares.
As a result of Guvamombe’s alleged interference and unlawful instruction, Makomo recused himself despite that there was neither a formal application nor lawful reason for his recusal. Guvamombe, the court further heard, eventually allocated Nathan’s record to another magistrate and was later found not guilty and acquitted.
According to the State, Guvamombe acted contrary and inconsistent to his duties as a public officer by involving himself in a matter he had a conflict of interest and unlawfully interfered with the magistrate. He is also charged for giving Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira places of attachment at the Harare Magistrate’s court.