I bribed the prosecutor; Accused tells magistrate

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A 40-year-old public prosecutor has appeared in court facing charges of receiving a bribe after he allegedly accepted US$550, 3 000 rand and 400 pula from a woman who wanted her husband to be spared a custodial sentence.

The prosecutor, Brian Muchengeti Chitsungo (40), who is attached to Bulawayo Magistrates Court last week appeared before Mr Musaiwona Shotgame facing charges of bribery as defined in section 170 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23. He was remanded out of custody to 9 August. 

The State case as presented by Mr Kelvin Guveya was that on 8 February, Michael Mlambo appeared in Court before magistrate Mrs Gamuchirai Gore where he was being tried for a case of assaulting or resisting a peace officer as defined in section 176 of the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 where Chitsungo was the prosecutor of the case.

Mlambo was convicted and remanded in custody to 9 February for sentencing and after the court proceedings, the court was told that Chitsungo allegedly approached Mlambo’s wife, Eunice who was crying and indicated to her that he could assist her husband to be spared a custodial sentence on condition that they give him US$1 000. 

On 9 February around 7 am Chitsungo allegedly phoned Eunice and the two met at Matobo Book Centre along Herbert Chitepo Street between Leopold Takawira and 8th Avenue. The State told the court that Chitsungo was then handed 3 000 rand, 400 pula and US$400 by Eunice before court proceedings, but Chitsungo was not satisfied. He allegedly demanded a top up of US$150 resulting in Eunice rushing back to her shop where she brought US$150 and allegedly handed it to him at the entrance of Bulawayo Magistrate Court. 

It was the State case that on the same day Mlambo appeared before the same court and was sentenced to perform 280 hours community service. After his release from Bulawayo Prison, he established from his wife that Chitsungo was paid a bribe which was meant to spare him from being given a custodial sentence. He was not amused with the development and immediately confronted Chitsungo demanding that he gives him back the money. 

On 10 February, fearing that Mlambo would proceed to make a police report against him, Chitsungo allegedly went to Mlambo’s place of residence and refunded him 3000 rand, 400 pula and US$400 leaving a balance of US$150 which he promised to pay within a short period of time.

On 15 February Mlambo appeared in court again for a different case that Chitsungo was prosecuting. It was during the court proceedings that Mlambo complained to the presiding magistrate Mrs Gore about the conduct of Chitsungo. On the same day at around 11 am, Chitsungo allegedly engaged Sergeant Samuel Mawungwa of ZRP Bulawayo who was the investigating officer for the assault case and gave him the remaining US$150 and instructed him to hand over the money to Mlambo, which he did. He was however, arrested for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe. – Sunday News