Magistrate recuses self in Harare mayor case

Source: Magistrate recuses self in Harare mayor case | Newsday (News)

 

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

HARARE magistrate Ngoni Nduna yesterday recused himself from presiding over Harare mayor Jacob Mafume’s corruption case, further delaying the city father’s bail hearing to today.

This came as the State indicated that it would seek a court order to revoke the $30 000 bail recently granted to Mafume.

The State argues that the mayor violated his bail conditions by interfering with witnesses.

Mafume, through lawyers Tendai Biti and Tonderai Batasara, successfully applied for Nduna’s recusal, arguing that the same magistrate had denied Mafume bail last year.

He said Nduna could not preside over the bail revocation application since he was an interested party.

In response, Nduna said: “It will be uneven for me to preside over the matter. The State must take its application to another court.”

Mafume is in custody on allegations of attempting to bribe a key witness in another pending matter for which he had been granted bail.

The State alleges that Mafume violated his bail conditions and contacted Edgar Dzehonye, a key witness in the matter, through a WhatsApp voice call, requesting him to meet him and discuss his criminal case before the courts.

Mafume had been released on $30 000 bail at the High Court for illegally parcelling out land a few days before he was arrested on fresh charges of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

In the application to have his bail rescinded, prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti told the court that Mafume wilfully violated the court order by interfering with Dzehonye.

In the application, the State intended to lead evidence from Dzehonye and the investigating officer.

But Biti challenged the State’s submissions, arguing that subjecting his client to a hearing basing on the same facts and findings used in his other matter was a violation of his rights to a fair trial.

He requested that the matter be referred to the Constitutional Court to determine whether or not Mafume’s rights were violated by the State’s application to revoke his bail.

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