BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a three-member tribunal to investigate suspended Supreme Court judge Justice Francis Bere.
According to the Government Gazette of March 17, 2020, the tribunal will be chaired by retired judge Justice Simbi Veke Mubako, while Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabiza will be the committee’s secretary alongside members Rekai Maposa and Advocate Takawira Nzombe.
Judge Bere is being accused of interfering with a pending civil court case involving the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) and his relatives.
It is alleged that Justice Bere telephoned Zinara lawyer Itai Ndudzo of Mutamangira and Associates, asking him to consider settling a civil dispute pitting Zinara against Fremus Enterprises (owned by the judge’s relatives).
The complaint was first raised before Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza during a court hearing and Ndudzo was asked to complain in writing.
In a letter dated January 15, 2020, the Judicial Service Commission formally advised the President that the question of removal from office of Bere ought to be investigated.
“The tribunal shall be held for a period of four months from the date of swearing in of members, at such appropriate venue as shall be determined by the tribunal and the report shall be availed at the conclusion of the inquiry,” Mnangagwa said.
He said the tribunal would investigate the removal from office of Justice Bere JA, and whether his conduct constituted gross misconduct as well as any other matter which it may deem appropriate and relevant to the inquiry.
The tribunal will report back to Mnangagwa within five months from date of swearing in.