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Mutare provincial magistrate sacked after allegedly bungling seven criminal cases

By Tatenda Mabasa | Nehanda Mutare Bureau |

MUTARE – Controversial Mutare provincial magistrate Charles Murove has been sacked by the Judicial Service Commission for failing to uphold the law after bungling seven criminal cases and compromising public confidence in the judiciary it has been alleged.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku officially opens the 2013 legal year at the High Court in Harare yesterday. Looking on (from left) are Justices Charles Hungwe, Samuel Kudya and Hlekani Mwayera
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku officially opens the 2013 legal year at the High Court in Harare yesterday. Looking on (from left) are Justices Charles Hungwe, Samuel Kudya and Hlekani Mwayera

Murove was found guilty of gross incompetency, negligence and inefficiency by a disciplinary panel.

On August 21, 2013 JSC secretary, Justice Kudya wrote to Mr Murove, advising him that he was unfit for the bench. Nehanda Radio has a copy of the letter which reads:

“Please be advised that the Disciplinary Authority, after a careful consideration of evidence and all documents pertaining to your misconduct charges has determined in terms of Section 46(1) (b) of the Public Service Regulations, 200, as read with Section 28 (60 of the Judicial Service Act (Chapter 7:18), that you be found guilty of misconduct as charged.

“Accordingly, it has been ruled that, in terms of Section 50 (1) (a) of the Public Service Regulations, 2000, as read with Section 28(6) of the Judicial Service Act (Chapter 7:18), that you will be discharged from Judicial Service Commission with immediate effect. In terms of Section 51 (1) of the aforesaid regulations, you may within 21 days from the date on which the Disciplinary Authority informs you of the determination or penalty, either appeal against the determination or penalty to the Labour Court or request the Commission in writing through this office to review the determination or penalty the Disciplinary Authority has imposed. You will be paid cash in lieu of accrued vacation leave days, if any in terms of Section 36 911) of the Public Service Regulations, 2000 as read with Section 28 (6) of the Judicial Services Act (Chapter 7:18).

The commission cited four reasons for the dismissal.

“The reasons for your discharge from JSC are firstly that even though you were an experienced and seasoned provincial magistrate, the standard of work you exhibited in these seven cases was even far below the minimum standards expected of one in the grade of magistrate.

“Secondly, you failed to apply your mind in assessing the appropriate sentence and deliberately imposed uniform and inadequate sentences of three months imprisonment without taking into account the different mitigatory and aggravating matrixes of each case. You were clearly motivated by the desire to circumvent both scrutiny and review mechanisms.

“(Thirdly) you acted improperly, negligently, inefficiently and incompetently in passing the sentences in all the seven cases referred to in contravention of paragraph 2 of the first schedule 9Section 2) of the Public Service Regulations , 2000 as read with Section 28 (6) of the Judicial Service Act (Chapter 7:18). In essence you demonstrated gross incompetency incapable of correction through training and incompatible with the public interest that essentially leads to the erosion of public confidence with the Judicial Service Commission,” reads the letter.

On behalf of the chief magistrate, Mr Guvamombe, Mr Mutevedzi then wrote to Manicaland provincial magistrate, Mr Lucie-Anne Mungwari, on August 30, 2013 advising her to execute the contents of the letter.

“Following the inquiry into the allegations of misconduct against Mr Murove, the secretary for the Judicial Service Commission has determined that Mr Murove be found guilty of the charges and that Mr Murove be discharged from service with immediate effect,” reads the letter.

Mr Murove’s lawyer, Mr Chris Ndlovu, of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners, told Nehanda Radio that he was working on an appeal.

“At present we are working on an appeal,” he said.

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