Judicial corruption: Special Anti-Corruption Unit raises red-flag over HCC official bail

Report by Elias Mambo, Farayi Machamire and Nigel Pfunde

  • Crack team wants prosecutor charged
  • Prosecutor Eddie Mabutho faces arrest

HEAD of Special Anti-Corruption Unit housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Thabani Mpofu, has raised the red-flag over issuance of bail to a Harare City Council (HCC) official who was arrested and remanded in custody over US$1 million land-scam.

In a letter addressed to the Prosecutor General dated July 9, Mpofu alleges that HCC human resources director, Matthew Marara was corruptly awarded bail.

Matthew Marara appeared before a magistrate in the Harare magistrate courts on charges of fraud…the state opposed bail and was remanded in custody on August 3,” read Mpofu’s letter.

On a date yet to be ascertained prosecutor Eddie Mabutho received Marara’s bail application.”

The letter states that Mabutho did not follow due process and went to the High Court where “for reasons best known to himself, consented to the granting of bail.”

The manner in which prosecutor Mabutho handled the high profile case involving Marara gives rise to a reasonable suspicion that the decision was corruption induced.

To that end Mabutho should be referred to police for thorough interrogation to circumstances surrounding his consenting to bail. There are grounds to charge Mabutho for corruption,” reads the letter.

The letter is referred to you for directions with recommendation that action must be taken without delay.”

Mpofu’ redflag comes at a time when the Zim Morning Post has exposed massive corruption in the judiciary delivery system

Last week the Zim Morning Post reported that the justice delivery system has been hit by allegations of corruption amid reports that cartels are running the show and in the process stifling efforts to bring culprits to book.

Zim Morning Post in collaboration with the Transparent International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has been investigating corruption in the access to justice in Zimbabwe.

The reports of massive corruption within the judiciary service system come at a time when Zimbabwe has witnessed a surge in corruption reports from government entities.

The Zim Morning Post managed to speak to various key stakeholders in the justice delivery system who all confirmed “Justice is being sold to the highest bidder.”

This publication also managed to engage some inmates who are out on bail and testified that during their incarceration some prison guards asked them to look for money so that their cases could be heard by their preferred magistrates.

Corruption in remand prison

Investigations by this publication reveal that inmates awaiting bail rulings are asked to source for money so that their cases can be heard by preferred magistrates who will quickly grant them bail.

I had tried to apply for bail while in remand without success,” said one inmate who is now on bail pending appeal.

After several attempts I was asked to give them (prison guards) US$200 so that they can connect me to a lawyer as well as a magistrate who will preside over the issue.

When my wife visited I told her to sell our fridge so that the issue can be resolved. She did that but only got US$150 which we had to use. It worked because after a week I was told that my bail had been granted.

Corruption in the lower courts

Investigations also revealed that a syndicate in the lower courts is frustrating the justice delivery system.

When an accused is going to the courts, the case first goes for vetting where the prosecutor and the arresting officer can agree on how much the person has so that the case can be properly handled,” opined one lawyer.

The arresting officer will then give the money to the prosecutor who will in turn take the money to the magistrate.”

Where the lawyers are involved the issue becomes easier because lawyers go directly to the magistrates.