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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  • Moe_Scyslack2

    This is so so sad. Sex and money has turned the police and our courts into a joke. At least I’ve lived to tell.

  • tsitsi

    If these candidates are sincere about ending corruption then u must start by cleaning your own house first,chief law officer Chris Mtangadura tangai naye!!Goba nyarara hako u don’t deserve that job!!!

  • eliah

    This is a joke ,so the entire system is now a piece a crap. So yes, it is not only the police force but the entire system and bigger things must also be happening at the prisons with inmates not serving their sentences. Mr President what is going on where are you ,nyika yaparara takatarisa. Lets not focus on succession wars when other things need attention in this country.

  • Hogwe

    I hope Manase and other aspirants were not just trying to impress the interviewers. The truth is the legal profession as a whole needs to be cleaned up and ZACC has a lot of work to do in this regard. We have some so called ethical lawyers being bribed to underrepresent their clients by those who have the financial muscle especially corporates and even some judges are involved in the scam. Matters are deliberately delayed especially in civil / labour matter so that capitulate. Even a para-legal would attest to the maxim that “justice delayed is justice denied”.

  • Major Generale

    Justice is now a sham. people should seek justice from the Creator. Only then will one be served.

  • Socrates

    Mr. CJ you have real work on your hands. A lot is expected of as head of the JSC and the good thing is the nation does not seem to have any record of you succumbing to a moment of weakness. That’s a positive you must guard jealously.

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    I concur

    • simba

      unfortunately she cant do it alone. It needs a concerted effort otherwise the crocked will persevere and win.