By Lloyd Gumbo
Suspended Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana has testified before a tribunal set up by President Robert Mugabe to probe his suitability to continue in office following a slew of allegations against him, principally criminal abuse of office and gross incompetence.
Indications are that 23 witnesses testified.
Mr Tomana is yet to be cross-examined.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the tribunal, made up of retired judge Justice Moses Chinhengo, University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Emmanuel Magade and lawyer Melania Matshiya, was expected to present its report to President Mugabe at the end of March.
The tribunal was initially expected to conclude its probe in October last year but requested an extension as more witnesses testified.
“In terms of Section 187 of the Constitution, the tribunal is tasked with inquiring into the question of removing the Prosecutor-General from office,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
“The process entails leading evidence from witnesses on relevant issues. The tribunal then evaluates the evidence and this assists them to arrive at a decision to constitute a recommendation to the President as is required by the Constitution,” she said.
“The extension was a result of the unforeseeable lengthy process of leading evidence from witnesses. Indeed, 23 witnesses have testified and the Prosecutor-General has also given his evidence. He should be the last witness.”
It is understood witnesses who have testified before the tribunal include Deputy Prosecutor-General Mrs Florence Ziyambi, senior prosecutors in the National Prosecuting Authority and others who left Government service for private practice.
The tribunal seeks to inquire into Mr Tomana’s conduct in respect to court orders issued by the High Court and Supreme Court in cases pitting Mr Francis Maramwidze vs Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and another; Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd vs Attorney-General; and Professor Charles Muchemwa Nherera vs Jayesh Shah.
In Maramwidze’s case, Mr Tomana is accused of refusing or failing to issue him with a certificate for private prosecution of Dr Munyaradzi Kereke on rape charges, as ordered by the High Court on May 14, 2014.
Mr Maramwidze finally got a certificate for private prosecution and Dr Kereke was convicted of rape last year and sentenced to a 10-year jail term.
Mr Tomana faces similar charges in the Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd case after he was ordered to issue a certificate by the Supreme Court within five days on January 8, 2014.
The tribunal seeks to establish whether Tomana was not only in contempt of court, but also in violation of the Oath of Office and the Constitution by refusing or failing to obey the court orders.
It is understood the tribunal also seeks to establish whether or not Mr Tomana’s conduct was inappropriate and an abuse of office with regards to persons who were his clients prior to his appointment as Prosecutor-General in November 2014. The Herald