Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
SUSPENDED judge Justice Francis Bere had his bid to block a tribunal inquiring into his fitness to hold office, after a lawyer accused him of interference in a civil case, ruled as non-urgent by the High Court, meaning that the tribunal will probably report before his attempt to block the probe is concluded.
Justice Bere was serving at both the Constitutional and Supreme Court benches when he was suspended in March this year, to pave way for a probe into potential misconduct. He approached the High Court seeking, as a matter of urgency, a ruling to set-aside the Judicial Service Commission’s decision to refer his case to President Mnangagwa recommending an inquiry into his alleged misconduct. The finding of non-urgency means that the tribunal can now sit.
The three-member panel is chaired by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako. The other two are Harare lawyer Mrs Rekayi Maphosa and Advocate Takawira Nzombe. Dismissing Justice Bere’s application, High Court judge Justice Alfas Chitakunye ruled the matter was not urgent.
He found that the application intended to sidestep the practice direction issued by the Chief Justice Luke Malaba suspended filing of litigation at the courts during the period of national lockdown and only allowed urgent and bail applications to be brought to court.