…Judicial officer faces arrest over ruling
A crack unit in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office has instructed the police to arrest a top magistrate on corruption allegations after passing a judgment which allegedly undermines the criminal justice system, Business Times can report.
Magistrate Morgan Nemadire was put on the spotlight after he ordered a ZWL$700 fine on a Venezuelan national, Delcy Daymar Rodriguez Guererro, who was convicted of possessing more than 5kg of cocaine worth US$500,000 (ZWL$40m).
Special Anti-corruption unit head Thabani Mpofu told Business Times this week there has been a strong case of corruption.
“We have since instructed the Police to look into the matter and effect arrest as we believe there is a strong case of corruption there.
There have been delays but an arrest has to be made,” Mpofu said. Nemadire has been under investigation since last year for alleged gross misconduct.
In an earlier letter by Mpofu addressed to ZRP Deputy Commissioner General Stephen Mutamba, the unit said the ruling by the magistrate had “grave implications on the integrity of our entire criminal justice system and the well-being of the economy”.
“The sentence passed by Nemadire on Guerrero amounts to an act of corruption.
For that reason, the Prosecutor General has directed that a formal complaint of corruption be lodged with the police against Nemadire for contravening Section 174 of the Code,” Mpofu said.
The sentence was largely seen as light given some convicts had previously served for three years for possession of less than $10 worth of drugs.
The matter, insiders say, is just a tip of the iceberg as other judgments are deemed to be dubious amid indications of a move to clean up the judiciary system.
Nemadire convicted a Venezuelan woman arrested for possession of more than 5kg of cocaine valued at US$500,000 and passed a wholly suspended sentence and a $700 fine.
Information gathered by Business Times shows that SACU is questioning the sentence in light of the gravity of the case that the accused was convicted of.
According to the letter to Mutamba, compared to other sentences handed for drug related offences of the same magnitude, the sentence handed by Nemadire sends wrong precedence and defeats the course of justice.
“For someone to be found in possession of two plants of cannabis, that person is getting a minimum of three years in jail and there was also another matter involving a Peruvian citizen found in possession of 1kg of cocaine, he was sentenced to about 15 years behind bars.
So it raises eyebrows when someone who had 5kg of cocaine got a $700 fine.”
The courts in 2018 sentenced a Mbare woman, Veronica Matongo, to 15 years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of 2.3kg of cocaine with a street value of US$185,464 while another Peruvian drug trafficker found in possession of 1kg of cocaine worth US$91,520 on the streets was also sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in December 2018.