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Judge fired over sexual harassment given 2 weeks to return property

Government has ordered former Bulawayo-based High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa to return all government property within two weeks after he was fired over sexual harassment claims.

This comes after a tribunal set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate Justice Mabhikwa’s conduct recommended his removal from office for sexual harassment and possession of pornographic material, among other acts of misconduct.

The tribunal was chaired by retired judge Justice November Mtshiya.

In a statement, Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza said Justice Mabhikwa should return all government property within the next two weeks.

“I attach a letter from the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, the contents of the letter are for your attention,” Justice Gwaunza said in a statement dated April 12, 2022.

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“In light of the contents, you are required within two weeks of the date of this letter to surrender to the registrar of the High Court the motor vehicles in your possession, being a Land Rover Discovery 5 AES 8243 and Mercedes-Benz E300 AFK 6148.”

“You can retain the iPad, laptop, cellphone and mobile line given to you, subject to it being converted into a private line.”

Mnangagwa, in a statutory instrument, asked the panel to investigate whether Justice Mabhikwa’s conduct “can be deemed to have been tantamount to gross misconduct”.

Mnangagwa also proclaimed that the tribunal should “investigate whether or not the judge (a) committed acts of sexual harassment (b) possessed pornographic material and to investigate any other matter which the tribunal may deem appropriate and relevant to the question of removal from office of a judge in terms of the law”.

This arose after nude pictures of Justice Mabhikwa and one of his female subordinates went viral on social media.