Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—
The prosecution authority has not made a decision on the appropriate court to hear the criminal trial of suspended Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana, who is facing six counts of criminal abuse of office. Reports yesterday indicated the trial has been transferred to the High Court. Acting Prosecutor General Advocate Ray Goba, yesterday rubbished media reports that the matter has been moved to the higher court. “No decision has been made on where Tomana will be tried,” said Adv Goba. “We are currently working on the matter to see which court he is going to be tried.”
Adv Goba said as of now investigations were underway and once the case is ready for trial, a decision will be taken on the appropriate court to conduct the trial. “If he is going to be tried at the High Court, the accused would be informed and the process for indictment is done by a magistrate,” said Adv Goba.
“It is not true that the matter has been moved to the High Court,” he said. “It is premature to say the matter has been moved to the High Court when nothing concrete has been done on the case.
“Up until the indictment process has been done by a magistrate, we are unable to comment. We have not yet reached that stage.”
The prosecution on Tuesday sought postponement of trial saying there were new developments in the case for the matter to be moved to High Court.
Prosecutor Mr Jonathan Chigwinyiso said: “Your Worship, there has been a change of events, the accused shall be tried at the High Court and if the matter can be remanded to November 16. We will serve him with the indictment papers on that day.”
Following the new developments, Tomana abandoned his application for refusal of further remand and consented to the postponement. He had placed the State on notice that he would apply for refusal of further remand if his trial failed to commence yesterday at the magistrates’ court.
Tomana is facing trial for criminal abuse of office after he allegedly dropped charges against suspects accused of attempting to bomb Gushungo Dairy. Allegations in the other cases are that in 2004, Bright Matonga, then chief executive of Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (zupco), was charged with culpable homicide. It is alleged that the charge arose from a road traffic accident that claimed the life of Chipo Chikowore. Tomana allegedly called for the docket and instructed that the charges be dropped.
In 2006, Matonga was charged with contravening sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In December 2008, Tomana allegedly instructed Morgan Dube to drop charges after plea against Matonga. The court heard that in 2006, zupco board chairman Charles Nherera was charged with corruption. Tomana testified as a defence witness and Nherera was sentenced to three years in prison.
After sentence, Nherera unsuccessfully applied for bail pending appeal at the High Court. Nherera served his sentence and was released from prison in December 2008. When Tomana was appointed AG, he declared that Nherera was innocent and wrongfully convicted. The court heard that former Bindura Hospital acting medical superintendent Beauty Basile was charged with criminal abuse of duty.
She appeared before Harare Regional Magistrates Court. Tomana ordered the withdrawal of charges after plea on November 24, 2009. The court heard that in October 2009, Patrick Mavros, a gold dealer, was charged with possession of gold without a licence. Mavros admitted to the charges but Tomana directed that prosecution be declined, it is alleged.