By Miriam Mangwanya
Suspended High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere has accused Chief Justice Luke Malaba of lying to President Emmerson Mnangagwa that she had 34 outstanding matters when she only had three.
Through her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Justice Ndewere told Justice Sunsley Zisengwe that a memorandum dated October 23, 2020 from the Registrar of High Court to Chief Justice Malaba confirms that she did not have 28 outstanding judgments or reviews for 2020 as alleged.
She submitted that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) failed to carry out an independent investigation into her alleged misconduct, but rather “rubber-stamped” the unlawful investigation done by Chief Justice Malaba without verifying the allegations.
Justice Ndewere is challenging the legality of a tribunal set up by Mnangagwa in November last year to determine her fitness to hold the office of High Court judge.
She said she only had three pending matters, contrary to allegations that she had 28 outstanding reviews and six outstanding reserved judgments as reported to Mnangagwa.
“Kindly note Judge President (George Chiweshe) that we have gone through our latest statistics for Honourable Ndewere,” the High Court Registrar’s note read.
“From the above information, the honourable judge has three matters that are dating back to 2018.
“We believe our information is accurate and to this end we attach the statistics for the honourable judge for the week ending October 15, 2020 which captures the mentioned matters, and was signed off by the judge (Ndewere).”
Justice Ndewere argued that Chief Justice Malaba conducted his own probe when he was not authorised to do so at law.
Justice Ndewere is accusing Chief Justice Malaba of victimising her after she ignored his “unlawful” directive to deny bail to former Labour minister Priscah Mupfumira on charges of abusing National Social Security Authority funds and MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Job Sikhala on inciting public violence charges.
Justice Ndewere said even though she had no outstanding judgments or reviews, she was singled out for victimisation when 17 other judges with long outstanding judgments were not charged.
She also argues that the Chief Justice did not appoint a disciplinary committee of three judges as required by law but acted as both complainant and jury in the matter.
Justice Zisengwe reserved his judgment on the matter. NewsDay