Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Chief magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe has warned members of the public to desist from bribing judicial officers by taking advantage of their poor working conditions and low salaries.
Mr Guvamombe said the officers, on their part, should not use the poor working condition as an excuse to engage in corruption.
He said this during the swearing in ceremony of five magistrates – Yeukai Dzuda, Elizabeth Magomore, Moreblessing Makati, Tracy Muzondo and Takunda Nyamandi – at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday.
“While it is appreciated that the conditions of service for magistrates are not the best, efforts are being made to continuously lobby the powers that be to improve them. I urge the magistrates to be patient and not to use the poor working conditions as an excuse to engage in corrupt activities. That is not acceptable,” he said.
“In the same vein, we call upon the public to desist from bribing the magistrates. Those found wanting will be prosecuted.”
He said corruption had detrimental effects to the society and the justice delivery system as a whole.
“We implore our public to appreciate that magistrates are independent in their decision making. They are not influenced, controlled or directed by any force in that regard,” he said.
Mr Guvamombe said his office was open to complaints, which are legitimate, based on real issues and not those which are speculative. He said magistrates should live an honest life and refrain from befriending dubious characters adding that those of questionable character did not have space on the bench.
The chief magistrate implored the new magistrates to stick to the principles and values that guided justice delivery.
Speaking at the same event, Chief Law Officer Mr Tawanda Zvekare urged magistrates to shun corruption, saying that it could undermine justice delivery by denying victims and accused persons the right to a fair and impartial trial.
He said corruption should be eradicated.
The vice president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Mr Chaka Mashoko, urged the new magistrates to bring justice to the public without fear or favour.
“The magistrates’ courts are the most accessible courts to the people and they should be able to inspire confidence in people that they dispense real and substantial justice. The profession does not tolerate corruption and indiscipline from its members,” he said.