gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Corruption-accused judge Chinamora resigns to escape inquiry – The Zimbabwe Mail

Corruption-accused judge Chinamora resigns to escape inquiry

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HARARE – Harare High Court judge Webster Chinamora has resigned rather than face a tribunal inquiry into his fitness to remain in office.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended the inquiry to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March this year following corruption allegations against the judge, but he took no action until this week following threats of legal action by lawyers.
Mnangagwa initially appointed retired judge Moses Chinhengo to chair the tribunal, but soon replaced him with Justice Ahamed Moosa Ebrahim for unexplained reasons.
On Friday, JSC secretary Walter Chikwana said: “I can confirm that Justice Chinamora has resigned from the bench.”

Justice Webster Chinamora’s handling of a matter between Delta Corporation and South African company, Blakey Plastics, has been tabled before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Ethics Advisory Committee.

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee deals with ethical and integrity issues within the commission. It was set up to fight corruption internally. Top lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who represented Delta last year in the matter heard before Justice Chinamora, lodged a complaint against the High Court judge early this year for alleged conflict of interest in the legal dispute won by Blakey Plastics.

Delta appealed against Chinamora’s ruling, which came at a time when a parallel arbitration process was ongoing in South Africa. The South African company engaged Taona Nyamakura. When he was working on legal advice, Nyamakura was given box files and documents that relate to the dispute. However, as Nyamakura was going through the papers, he allegedly came across Chinamora’s personal documents.  It is alleged that the personal documents included his divorce order, conditions of service, a vehicle registration book for a Land Rover Discovery, lease agreement, company documents and a building plan for his Harare house, among others.

Nyamakura  reported the matter to his seniors, including Mpofu of the Advocates Chambers. In turn, Mpofu lodged a complaint with JSC, while Nyamakura reported the issue to the Law Society of Zimbabwe. The complaint by Mpofu is being supported by Scanlen and Holderness legal practitioners. Contacted for comment, JSC secretary Walter Chikwanha confirmed that the matter was tabled before the ethics board and investigations were ongoing.

“I do confirm that the JSC is seized with the complaint made against Justice Chinamora and that the matter was referred to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. The investigations are still in progress,” Chikwanha said.

Of late, there have been complaints raised against the conduct of judges and some centre around reporting late for work, which has contributed to delays in the conclusion of cases at the High Court. Three judges have been fired by High Court Judge Justice Webster Chinamorain the last three years for various offences.

Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa was fired after his nudes went viral; in 2021, Justice Erica Ndewera was dismissed for “gross incompetence” and in 2020, Supreme Court Judge justice Francis Bere was discharged for interfering in a civil process.

n April last year, Mnangagwa appointed a tribunal to investigate High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore’s suitability for office after she allegedly failed to report for duty since last year.