Senior High Court officials suspended for corruption

30 Oct, 2022 - 00:10 0 Views
Senior High Court officials suspended for corruption High Court

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

FOUR senior officials from the Bulawayo High Court have been suspended on allegations of forging a law firm’s date stamp in a move allegedly meant to influence the outcome of a Supreme Court case.

The four —  Bulawayo High Court registrar Felix Hwara, court clerk Joyce Ngoma and deputy registrars; Andrew Ngwenya and Achidaishe Simari — were suspended to allow internal investigations to go ahead.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) head of corporate services, Mr Daniel Nemukuyu, confirmed the suspension and said investigations were underway.

“We can confirm that our four officers based in Bulawayo were suspended after corruption allegations were raised against them. The suspension is meant to allow internal investigations. The investigations have since commenced and we will be guided by the outcome. As the Judicial Service Commission, we do not condone corruption,” said Mr Nemukuyu.

While Mr Nemukuyu could not shed more light on the corruption allegations, sources close to the matter said the quartet is accused of forging a law firm’s rubber stamp. Allegations are that the four, acting in cahoots, used a forged stamp on papers that were supposed to be served to a law firm (name withheld) which was representing an applicant in a matter that was set for the Supreme Court.

The papers which were supposed to inform the applicants of when the matter was slated to be set down were, however, not served to the lawyers but were filed in the court’s records. As a result, that influenced a ruling against the applicant, and the lawyers argued that they were not served with the papers. Upon inquiry, the lawyers were shown the papers which were filed in the court records and had their stamp which was “proof” that they had indeed received the papers.

However, the lawyers allegedly discovered that the stamp was forged as the date was in a different colour from the one they use. Forgery allegations were raised leading to the suspension of the four. The JSC has previously reiterated its stance of zero tolerance to corruption within the country’s justice system, warning that stern measures would be taken against rotten apples.

This has seen the JSC so far busting a corrupt cartel at Nyanga Magistrates’ Court involving two clerks and some top officials.

In Masvingo, a magistrate was dismissed over gross incompetence linked to alleged corruption, while in Rusape the JSC resolved to transfer nearly the entire staff at the station following reports of alleged corruption. In August a former Kwekwe resident magistrate and his clerk of court were sentenced to a combined 24 months in prison after they were convicted of abuse of office.

Some of the corruption cases that the judiciary has taken zero tolerance on include receiving bribes, violation of court rules and other malpractices.
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