Lawyers bemoan sale of justice at lower courts

Chief Justice Malaba

Chief Justice Malaba

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
JUSTICE is now literally for sale at the lower courts and senior lawyers, who still value their ethics frequent superior courts, the Judicial Service Commission heard yesterday. Candidates vying for the esteemed office of the Prosecutor-General told the panel of interviewers chaired by Chief Justice Luke Malaba that the rot at the magistrates’ courts countrywide had reached alarming levels to the extent of frustrating most senior lawyers.

Responding to the third question of standard five questions posed to each of the seven candidates during the public interview, top lawyer Mr Wilson Manase told the panel that there was well coordinated graft involving prosecutors, magistrates and some lawyers.

Mr Manase said if appointed PG, he would engage the JSC, police, Law Society of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders to come up with strategies to curb the scourge.

“It is not a secret that corruption is rife at the magistrates’ courts.

“Most senior lawyers who still believe in professionalism have been frustrated. They no longer appear before the magistrates because they believe justice is now for sale at lower courts,” said Mr Manase.

“We now prefer appearing before the superior courts where there is still professionalism and real justice,” he said.

Mr Manase advised the commission to randomly ask any of the senior lawyers in town about the situation to get the truth of the claims.

LSZ president Mr Misheck Hogwe said he had also lost confidence in the lower courts.

“Corruption is rife, especially at the magistrates’ court. The role of a lawyer is slowly becoming less important because of corruption.

“The syndicate even involves the police, who at times refer accused persons to certain lawyers.

“I once had a personal experience with a corrupt magistrate and I reported to Mr Guvamombe (Mishrod) when he was still provincial magistrate for Harare.

“Mr Guvamombe took appropriate action against the magistrate in question and he handled the matter in a commendable way,” said Mr Hogwe.

Acting PG Advocate Ray Goba, who was part of the candidates, concurred saying that at one time he had a difficult time with a client, who kept on asking him to engage prosecutors, who had promised to corruptly secure an acquittal.

“I once represented a foreigner at Rotten Row (Harare Magistrates’ Court), who put pressure on me to engage some prosecutors to corruptly facilitate an acquittal for him.

“Each time he was at court, some officials at the courts kept on advising his relatives to engage prosecutors saying there was no need for an advocate.

“I ended up asking him if he still needed my service until he stopped talking about it.

“Fortunately, he was acquitted, but am not sure if the acquittal was not as a result of his secret engagement of the said court officials,” said Mr Goba in jest.

Seven lawyers aspiring to be appointed PG were interviewed yesterday for the whole day.

The seven are Mr Wilson Manase, Adv Ray Goba, Mr Misheck Hogwe, Mr Charles Chinyama, Mrs Florence Ziyambi, Mr Peter Mufunda and Ms Teclar Mapota.

The JSC will deliberate on the performance of the candidates and forward names of the three top performers to the Executive.

The Executive will then appoint the suitable successor to the fired former PG Mr Johannes Tomana.

Mr Tomana was fired early this year for incompetence and misconduct.

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  • omahn

    This is daily bread at the magistrates courts. Sadly nothing will happen and life goes on as usual. I feel for the poor who have to watch in disbelief as justice is stolen before their eyes. God help us!

  • john

    He was set up because he refused to obey the legal mafia.
    I was told by a junior he, is just a political figurehead and we are going to remove him and they did.
    I was present when the former Dept Ombudsman was told you will never practice law again in zim unless you back off lawyers.
    Again when presenting a statement to a senior prosecutor I was told it is murder and I will proceed if you remove all lawyers names from your statement/affidavit including those who witnessed the murder.

  • john

    Where do you live its been corrupt since independence.
    Judges clerks are referred to as the judges bag man in legal circles, the one who receives the bribe.

  • Bhuka

    Them lawyers also offer bribes to Prosecutors and Magistrates, investigations officers, clerks of court and even interpreters.I know one of them use to say to prosecutors, “ndokunazvisa mupfana sort my case” So are they now selling out as if they have clean hands to get the top job yet they are the culprits.

    Any of them who fail to get this job will have hard time if they ever go back to face them prosecutors and magistrates.
    The whole system needs overhaul from the Police, Prisons services, Prosecutors, Magistrates and them legal practitioners. They are all involved in the corruption in the judicial system. Here they are only saying what others do, but not confessing what they also do for obvious reasons.

    In any case as long as the current government is in power, corruption is going more and more deeper without any reverse, there is no any bright future and people have all learnt to survive from corruption as a way of complimenting their meager salaries unfortunately, therefore the problem is much bigger. Anyone of then who get this post and is dreaming that he can now eradicate this corruption in the present time he is joking.

    • NUTTY DREADLOCK

      kabooom

  • It Shall be well

    CJ, how do you explain this. A listed Company dismisses three groups of people, all receiving the same letter. Nec employees/ Middle/Senior Managers/Executive.
    The NEC group’s case is dismissed at Arbitration level, they have no money they can’t go further.
    The Middle Managers/Senior Manager’s case is won at Arbitration level, the employer takes it to labour court and the Managers lose.
    They have now appealed to the Supreme court.
    The Executive Managers win all the way.
    But these people were given the same letter of dismissal.
    To me this is justice on Sale big time, even at the Higher courts. Though you have exceptions like Justice Mhuri.

    • NUTTY DREADLOCK

      dat are true wasnt that beautifull lady judge fingered in a 20 000 dollar scam and now its just quiet

  • john

    Its the fault of the law society and their legal mafia, its nothing new, it started at independence.
    The legal profession saw an opportunity to get rich. With a lawyer on the board of every bank, one senior lawyer boasted, government controls politics but we control justice and the banks and thus the economy behind the scenes.
    Just look at discipline at the law society – for fraud / forgery at the deeds office stamped with a commissioner of oaths stamp, effectively in real life stealing a property it is professional misconduct and gets a fine of five hundred dollars and the next day he can still act as a commissioner of oaths or notary public.
    For involvement in murder, three years suspension from the bar was offered
    For the non payment of the share of the public interest to the law society from our money in their trust account – one years imprisonment, or automatic suspension, one lawyer supposedly committed suicide, really!
    No offence is passed to our courts for criminal prosecution by the law society and when a member of the public complains the prosecutor in fear of his job tells you it has already been tried at the law society and that is final. Prosecutors and even the ombudsman in the past are told you will never practice law in Zimbabwe unless you back off. The court at the law society is for professional misconduct only, criminal cases should be tried in open criminal court then at the law society afterwards, not, as is the current procedure all criminal offences downgraded to unprofessional conduct..
    All judges and magistrates are lawyers , I don’t understand the surprise of the journalist that there is corruption in the courts as well as the law society and its members. This is why and the gullible opposition press completely missed the point all judges should be chosen by our president.
    When moves are made to control the law society they scream we are supposed to be independent and we control human rights. They also promote violence via their NGO’s and engage in politics, what happened to their role at the law society to promote the law, why are they never suspended.. Imagine one lawyer was on the front page for demonstrating outside our high court. she has the right and should have the expertise to take a case to Supreme Court, The law society and its members are supposed to promote the law yet she was not suspended or even judged by our law society.
    There is the problem and the answer to a very long article with no conclusion.
    There needs to be public participation at our law society. In a large legal fraternity the dog eat dog situation exists where one lawyer will act against another or judge or magistrate for fame and higher fees in a small legal fraternity such as ours cliques form and as in our case a legal mafia is formed,
    Even in death the lawyers loot us, in one case a property was sold out of an estate without going through the master at half the value and then sold on again at the real value thus the public are not safe even in death.- this is currently a police case being blocked from the courts for years even with ministerial support so it may continue to happen.
    If any lawyer wants to discuss this in any court try me and I will produce factual evidence, including copies of actual judgements at the law society, against your trying to prove you are honest, an impossible task in our legal profession as if you were honest, you could not remain a member of our law society and thus not be allowed to practice law, its that simple.
    Honesty can be a offence at our law society there is a murder investigation, again blocked where an honest lawyer and former head of legal affairs with the ministry was killed by lethal injection under the cloak of a vitamin injection supervised by a young advocate from our chambers. Blocked of course although having actual witnesses, some whom confessed to being involved on instruction.
    Lets have an article about crime in our legal profession, comments from the public would cover pages and we need justice to survive and honesty at the law society and within its members. .We may only have peace with real, honest justice and this cannot happen until the legal mafia is dismantled. .
    Freedom of speech should also cover truth and fact, especially when the writer is quite prepared to defend his statements in a court of law and produce evidence and documents to prove that the highest authority has supported an investigation by the police currently being blocked by terrified prosecutors, in addition anti corruption are investigating actual cases. But of course journalists are terrified of crooked lawyers and lawyers control statements in the press that even our government has no say about – freedom of expression doesn’t apply to articles about lawyers who are above our law according to them. Where is the journalists court if the lawyers can have one why cant they? Think about this before you block factual statements that may offend crooked lawyers..I have taken on the law society before and am quite prepared to do it again, unlike journalists I have backbone. Where does freedom of expression exclude truth and condone crime..

  • Masaisai

    She is a seriously corrupt and compromised lawyer, this Mthethwa woman. I’m a victim of her shady manipulative operations. Ask her fellow colleagues in the legal circles and you will be shocked with what you will find. No lawyer in this country is free of corrupt influences.

  • Humba Makombe

    After reading this article and the comments herein, im really depressed. saka ari clean munyika, free of corruption ndiani wedu wee? Tongoenda nenyaya dzedu kudare ra Mambo Saunyama, mheta, at least one can get fair judgement.

    • NUTTY DREADLOCK

      ikoko rasta unotodzvanywa woripiswa mombe pairipwa huku no court in zimbabwe is free of corruption even court ye church chaiyo. The moral fabric of humans has evolved to a level of individualism and capitalistic exploitation. kana dare remumba chaimo tezvara will side with the muroora simply because she is giving him or he isgiving her or they are giving each other taps

  • NUTTY DREADLOCK

    YOU SEE ROTTEN ROW CHAIYO

  • NUTTY DREADLOCK

    OBVIOUSLY uchida basa you will flower your interviewers with niceties just like politicians before an election i bet Tomana when he was still wanted said the very same things only to become the filth itself