Fired Kwekwe magistrate Story Rushambwa’s freedom bid was dealt a huge blow after the court dismissed his application for discharge.
Rushambwa (48) was arrested last year together with the Clerk of Court Bright Mpiyabo (45) on allegations of abuse of office.
The pair appeared before Gokwe regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere at the Gweru magistrates court yesterday for the ruling on the application for discharge they made to the court at the close of the State case last year.
Rushambwa and Mpiyabo pleaded not guilty. The duo is on $2 000 bail each and was remanded to June 16 when they will be put to their defence.
Mr Manwere while dismissing their application said they had a case to answer.
“The accused applied for their discharge at the close of the State case and the application is hereby dismissed. The accused will be put to their defence and are remanded to June 16,” he said.
Rushambwa was early last year suspended from work pending investigations after he was arrested together with Mpiyabo on allegations of illegally facilitating the release of a stolen vehicle to a businessman, Mr Shepherd Tundiya.
Rushambwa was dismissed from work by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) following a disciplinary hearing on June 1 last year which found him guilty and recommended his dismissal.
It is alleged that sometime in October 2019, a Toyota Hilux vehicle was impounded by the police anti-corruption unit from John Mapurazi, a miner in Kwekwe.
The vehicle was allegedly taken as an exhibit after it was fraudulently imported into the country. The State alleges the vehicle was handed over to Zimra for customs management.
It is alleged that on December 27, 2019, Mapurazi made an ex parte application seeking the release of the vehicle.
Rushambwa and Mpiyabo allegedly hatched a plan to order the release of the motor vehicle to Mapurazi.
Mpiyabo deliberately withheld the record so that the matter could be presided over by Rushambwa despite the fact that Rushambwa was on leave. The State alleges Mpiyabo then placed the record before Rushambwa well knowing he was on leave.
Rushambwa presided over the application in the absence of Mapurazi who was now being represented by Tundiya who is not a legal practitioner.
The magistrate went on to grant the order for the release of the motor vehicle to Mapurazi showing favour to him.
The former officer-in-charge of CID Gweru, Detective Inspector Leonard Gwandu was last year sentenced to three years in jail for the same case. State Media