BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
EMBATTLED High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere has said her suspension was a well-co-ordinated ploy to victimise and shame her after she defied “unlawful” orders from Chief Justice Luke Malaba.
Justice Ndewere revealed this on the 30th of March during the sitting of retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako-led tribunal, which was set up to investigate her alleged misconduct and determine whether she was still fit to sit on the bench.
She said she was being victimised as she was singled out of 17 judges with outstanding judgments, although she had no outstanding judgments on the day she was charged and suspended.
The Constitution provides that a judge may be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, due to mental or physical incapacity, or gross incompetence, or gross misconduct.
Otherwise, judges serve until retirement or resignation.
“I completed all my work within the three-month period as required and did not have 28 outstanding reviews and six reserved judgments on May 18, 2020 as alleged. The tribunal must provide the evidence in the form of names and case numbers,” Justice Ndewere said in her defence before the tribunal.
“I was singled out for victimisation out of a list of 17 judges with outstanding judgments, even though I had no outstanding judgments on the date I was charged and suspended.”
Charges against Justice Ndewere included failure to competently perform her duties and failure to follow due process on a number of cases.
“That contrary to your duties and professional calling as a judge, you incompetently performed your duties when on several occasions and despite several requests and warnings from your superiors you failed to deliver reserved judgments within the prescribed 90 days in breach of Judicial Code of Ethics Regulations Statutory Instrument 107/2012 in particular section 19(1) thereof, thereby failing to meet the expected judicial standards of a judge in the following cases as indicated on the attached table,” the charge sheet read.
Justice Mubako told the tribunal that Justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza was asked to consider the request from Justice Ndewera’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to withdraw from the secretariat of the tribunal.
The embattled judge claims she was targeted after she refused to take orders to deny bail to former Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira and MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala.
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