Fired Kwekwe magistrate Rushambwa criminal court trial on today

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OWEN MATAVA in Gweru

The court trial for the former Kwekwe Magistrate, Story Rushambwa (48) and Clerk of court, Brighton Mpiyabo (45) who were both dismissed from work in June this year after being found guilty of criminal abuse of office, is expected to kick start in Gweru today, midlands news can report.

Highly placed sources within the judiciary system who spoke to midlandsnews in confidence on Monday, said that Rushambwa and his co-accused are likely to face the same charges in which the two were found guilty after a Judiciary Service Commission disciplinary hearing in June.

“The trial you were talking about is set for this week on Wednesday October 21.
And as per the set standard rules, Rushambwa and Mpiyabo will appear before any magistrate recommended by JSC”, said the source.

Circumstances are that the duo allegedly illegally facilitated the release of a stolen vehicle to controversial businessman Shepherd Tundiya.

Appearing for the state, Piason Murungani said sometime in September 2018 a Mercedes Benz vehicle was impounded from Tundiya by CID Kwekwe as it was suspected to have been stolen from South Africa.

The vehicle was then handed over to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for further management. It was then held pending finalisation of investigations by South African Police Service and possible settling of duty in terms of the Customs and Excise Act.

It is the State’s case that on December 9 last year, Tundiya made an ex parte application seeking the release of the motor vehicle and on the same day Rushambwa presided over the matter. He granted an order that the vehicle be released unconditionally to Tundiya.

It is alleged the order issued by Rushambwa was prejudicial to Zimra.

The State alleges the whereabouts of the vehicle are no longer known.

It is also alleged that sometime in October last year, a Toyota Hilux vehicle was impounded by the police anti-corruption unit from John Mapurazi a local miner.

The vehicle was taken as an exhibit in a case of fraud in Bulawayo after it was fraudulently imported into the country.

The State alleges the vehicle was then handed over to Zimra for customs management and finalisation of trial. It is alleged on December 27 last year, Mapurazi made an ex parte application seeking the release of the vehicle.

It is alleged Rushambwa then hatched a plan to order the release of the motor vehicle to Mapurazi. He allegedly in connivance with Mpiyabo withheld the record until Rushambwa who was on leave arrived at court to deal with the application.

The State alleges Mpiyabo then placed the record before Rushambwa well knowing he was on leave. Rushambwa, however, presided over the application in the absence of Mapurazi who was now being represented by Tundiya who is not a lawyer. The magistrate went on to grant the order for the release of the motor vehicle to Mapurazi.

The vehicle can no longer be accounted for while Tundiya is still to face the law over the the same matter.