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Tomana accused of intimidating judges

The protest letter to the Judicial Services Commission was in reaction to reports that Tomana had lodged a complaint to the Judge President George Chiweshe and the Judicial Services Commission alleging that High Court judge Justice Samuel Kudya passed judgement on factual issues before Mangoma’s trial.
Tomana was said to be not happy with Kudya’s remarks when he granted Mangoma bail on March 15 on the grounds that the state’s case appeared to be weak. 
The minister is accused of sealing a US$5 million fuel deal with a South African company NOA without going to tender.
In remarks that have drawn parallels with comments that saw Zanu PF apologists calling for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo’s arrests on alleged contempt of court charges, Tomana appeared to be calling for action against Kudya.
But Mangoma’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, in a letter seen by The Standard accused Tomana of attempting to bully members of the judiciary and interfering with their independence.
“In our respectful view, if the Attorney-General was unhappy with the judge’s findings in the bail application, his proper course would clearly have been to seek to appeal against judgement,” reads part of the letter.
“Traditionally and taking into account what the state would have placed before a court, judicial officers have always considered the strength or weakness of a case in considering a bail application and we do not consider that the judge in this case went  beyond this traditional consideration.”
She said although they had read about Tomana’s complaint in The Sunday Mail, it appeared it was intended to intimidate the judges handling Mangoma’s cases.
Tsvangirai last month threatened a “clean divorce” from the unity government following Mangoma’s initial arrest last month saying the prosecution and judicial system were being manipulated to persecute his party.
But he was forced to apologise after President Robert Mugabe’s sympathisers pushed for his arrest. The complaint by Mangoma’s lawyers will resurrect debate about the alleged conspiracy.
“Whatever the ‘complaint’, it is our view that the Attorney General’s ‘complaint’ is nothing but an attempt to intimidate members of the judiciary into not exercising their independence in matters that come before them,” Mtetwa wrote.

 

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