BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) yesterday presented two conflicting records before a three-member tribunal led by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako set up to investigate Justice Erica Ndewere’s alleged misconduct and determine whether she was still fit to sit on the bench.
Justice Ndewere was suspended five months ago by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after she allegedly failed to complete 28 reviews and eight reserved judgments within a set
But yesterday, the hearing took a dramatic turn when proceedings were adjourned for 30 minutes to allow the JSC to review its contradictory evidence.
The JSC had two tables referring to the same case, Table J showing eight outstanding judgments and Table 1 with eight same judgments that were completed after 90 days.
Table J showed that Justice Ndewere had eight outstanding judgments and that formed the basis of her suspension.
The registrar of the High Court, Faith Mushure said judgments were done, but the offence was that they were done after 90 days in 2019.
It emerged that the new table was created on October 23, 2020 long after Mnangagwa was asked to suspend Justice Ndewere.
Justice Ndewere’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa objected to the production of the new table saying it was not part of the original charge.
Mtetwa demanded that evidence by JSC should show evidence given to the meeting held on October 8, 2020 that 28 reviews and eight reserved judgments were outstanding as of May 18, 2020.
She added that the new table with eight offences about failure to deliver reserved judgments in 90 days was not considered by JSC at its meeting of October 8, 2020 and was, therefore, not admissible as evidence.
Mtetwa argued that she did not believe that JSC would refer her client’s case to Mnangagwa if it was told that the figures were wrong and that Justice Ndewere did not have any outstanding work.
Mushure on behalf of JSC, stated that Justice Ndewere was warned on several occasions.
Mtetwa disputed saying Justice Ndewere did not receive a warning from either Chief Justice Luke Malaba or Judge President George Chiweshe.
Mtetwa also queried the accuracy of the data, because a memo dated September 14, 2020 from the Judge President to all judges stated that all data on outstanding reviews and judgments was wrong and that judges should disregard it.
Justice Ndewere is also pushing for the tribunal to be disbanded, arguing that it is not properly constituted.