Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Magistrate, interpreter jailed 24 months for corruption

Magistrate, interpreter jailed 24 months for corruption

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Energy Bara
Monday, 20 September 2010 16:16

MASVINGO – A Zvishavane magistrate and court interpreter were on Friday
convicted and jailed for 24 months each for criminal abuse of office after
they solicited for a US$50 bribe from a Mberengwa businessman on the pretext
that they would overturn a civil court judgment and help him recover his
attached goods.

The magistrate Ishmael Mutsunguma and court interpreter Michael Mujapelo
will however serve an effective one and  a half years in jail after Chiredzi
magistrate Judith Zuyu suspended six months of their sentence.

The two were tried at the Masvingo magistrate court after the Ministry of
Justice ordered that they could not be tried at the same station in which
they were based.

The state alleged that on 10 August last year, the complainant’s mother
Rhoda Ndlovu had three cattle taken away from her  by a messenger of court
following a civil court judgement .

On 11 August the messenger of court again confiscated  Maclean Zhou (the
complainant )’s property which included Television sets DVD players and
radio speakers among other things  following a civil court judgement on the
same case.

The state further alleged that on August 12, Zhou and his mother Ndlovu
decided to make a follow up on their seized cattle and goods .

They proceeded to the Zvishavane magistrate courts and met magistrate
Mutsunguma and registered a complaint.

It was the state case that Mutsunguma told the two that the civil court
judgement was improper and therefore asked to meet them at a bottle store in
Zvishavane where they later met.

It was alleged that the two demanded  money for drinks and were given US$5
and bought the drinks but did not return the change.

The state further alleged that  the magistrate and the interpreter then
demanded  US$50 from the two so that they could help them reclaim their
confiscated goods and cattle.

It was alleged that the two accused persons were given US$ 50 and Mutsunguma
allegedly advised them to come to his office the following day.

However luck ran out for the two court officials when the complainant went
to Zvishavane police station and made a report to the police.

Police then waylaid  the two in a street and arrested  them.
The magistrate and interpreter and pleaded not guilty to the charge but were
convicted due to the overwhelming evidence presented in court.

Magistrate Zuyu said the two had abused the trust bestowed in them by the
public hence a custodial sentence was mandatory.

She said corruption in any form especially by judicial officers should be
condemned.

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