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Senior magistrate fired for incompetence

By Runesu Gwidi

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has fired senior Masvingo magistrate Mr Peter Madhibha for gross incompetence, among other reasons.

Walter Chikwanha
Walter Chikwanha

JSC secretary Mr Walter Chikwana confirmed Mr Madhibha’s sacking.

He said Mr Madhibha was sacked after he appeared before a JSC disciplinary committee and was found guilty of contravening the Commission’s Regulations of 2015 that demands high levels of competence on the part of court officials.

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Mr Madhibha, who was served with his letter of dismissal last week, was found guilty of passing non-custodial and lenient sentences for some offences that would under normal circumstances warrant stiffer penalties.

He had served as magistrate for 17 years.

“Yes, l can confirm that Mr Madhibha appeared before the JSC disciplinary committee. He was fired after the committee recommended his dismissal on February 12, 2019. His conduct violated the Judicial Services Commission Regulations (2015) which stipulate that all court officials have to exercise a high level of competence in the manner they execute their duties,” he said.

Others reasons for firing Mr Madhibha were his failure to satisfactorily respond to queries raised by Masvingo resident High Court Judges, Justices Garainesu Mawadze and Joseph Mafusire during their review of a case he had handled.

The case involved the State versus one Ernest Chifumuro (Case: MSVP 549/18) where Mr Madhibha ordered the latter to just pay a fine of $1 000 after convicting him of culpable homicide.

Chifumuro was convicted after a bus he was driving caused the death of six people along the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway.

It was felt that a custodial sentence would have sufficed considering the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash. Masvingo Provincial Magistrate Mr Langton Ndokera said Masvingo now has 18 magistrates following the departure of Mr Madhibha

“Masvingo used to have 19 magistrates, excluding two regional magistrates (at Masvingo and Chiredzi magistrates courts).

‘‘Today (Friday), JSC has issued Mr Madhibha with a letter of dismissal. Our establishment now comprises of 18 magistrates,” said Mr Ndokera.

He said the JSC will continue to deal with cases of incompetence and corruption within the judiciary.

“We have it in good authority that there are syndicates of court officials engaging in corruptions. Some deliberately deny offenders bail so that they get kickbacks while others arrive at questionably lighter sentences after allegedly getting bribes from accused persons. We will deal decisively with this rot,” Mr Ndokera said. The Herald