THE case in which a prominent Harare lawyer Admire Rubaya , a magistrate and several detectives are facing charges of obstructing justice, has taken a new twist, with two prosecutors being implicated in an attempt to persuade one of the accused persons to nail Rubaya.
Rubaya represented Jephat Chaganda, who later escaped the country and had been believed to be dead, before his recent re-arresting after it had been established that he had skipped the border into Botswana. Chaganda is being held at Khami remand prison.
However, the case has allegedly turned on its head, after two prominent officials from the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office – Rosa Takuva and Justin Uladi, according to a leaked conversation – have been exposed as trying to influence Chaganda to plead guilty to gold theft charges and turn against Rubaya.
Rubaya, together with eight others, is facing allegations of theft of gold from a Plumtree Police Station and obstruction of justice before the High Court in Bulawayo over the role he played in legally representing Chaganda in a gold smuggling case at Plumtree Regional Magistrates Court.
Rubaya and his other accused have since applied for an exception to the charges. Rubaya represented Chaganda in 2018 in a case of smuggling and unlawful possession of about 14kgs of gold, resulting in Chaganda’s acquittal and release of gold to one Lovemore Sibanda, who had claimed to own the gold.
Rubaya and Chaganda were subsequently arrested together with a Plumtree Regional Magistrate, the Public Prosecutor and all the detectives who had previously arrested Chaganda. They appeared before the High Court in Bulawayo for trial before suspended Justice Thompson Mabhikwa.
The case has since commenced afresh and was being presided over by Justice Joseph Musakwa before his recent elevation to the Supreme Court.
In the leaked conversation, Takuva allegedly wrote to Uladi “hoping” that Chaganda would plead guilty and then use him to turn against Rubaya.
“Mastermind ndi [is] Rubaya. Rubaya was Jefat’s [lawyer] ku Plumtree trial. He’s the one who created the defense yekuti [that] the gold belongs to Sibanda. A defense he has used in previous trials. Dai Jefat akatoita plead hake tomushandisa against Rubaya,” Takuva allegedly wrote.
Uladi allegedly responded by urging her to pass the information to the media, offering to connect her to a journalist who could assist to publish the story.
“Please have the issue ya Japhet published. Can I refer … (name journalist and media house withheld) of the …. to you,” Uladi allegedly said to which Takuva responded “today a Chronicle reporter came to see me. Yes you can refer to the … reporter coz it’s news”.
Uladi yesterday distanced himself from the alleged conversation.
“I don’t have any comment on matters which are supposed to be confidential. Get your comment from your source. I reserve my right to lawful legal recourse. I totally disown the chats and have no knowledge of them,” Uladi said. On her part, Takuva said it was customary to discuss with colleagues cases they were working on – denying that she was trying to influence Chaganda to throw Rubaya under the bus.
“You have to identify where you get them because this is private and confidential. If they are leaked, deal with your leak, continue leaking.
“It’s not plotting. We sit down and discuss cases that are brought before us, that’s what we do. We don’t go out there and start plotting against anyone.
“If you are not arrested, I won’t even know you exist,but if a docket about you is brought to me, I will look at it and discuss it with my colleagues. I don’t plot against anyone, otherwise I will be plotting against the whole country.
“So as long as you are not arrested or brought to me I will not even talk about you. I’m not plotting against anyone, otherwise every accused person will be saying I’m plotting,” Takuva told the Daily News. She confirmed that she had been approached by a journalist from a Bulawayo daily who was making a follow-up on the case. “A journalist from Chronicle was following up on a person (Chaganda) on a warrant of arrest and he has been re-arrested. That’s what he was following up on and that’s it,” Takuva said.
Takuva added that Rubaya was on trial and she had no personal interest in the matter. “That person you are talking about, if you are aware, we have a docket against him, so I’m not plotting. “I’m not the one who opened a case against him, it was opened by the police. I don’t see where the plot comes in and that same person has a pending case before the High Court, he is being tried together with other accused persons.
“I didn’t cause his arrest.I’m not a witness, but if a docket is brought to me I will deal with it in the same manner I will deal with any other docket.
“That’s what we do. We can turn an accused person into a witness. If a person is convicted, he can come back, and is allowed to testify if they so wish.
“If two people are arrested and one of them decides they want to talk and assist the State, it’s allowed. There is nothing peculiar or illegal about this,” she in apparent reference to Chaganda.
Rubaya told the Daily News yesterday that he had been made aware of the conversation and had instructed his lawyers to pursue legal recourse.
“It has come to my attention that there are leaked chats between two top prosecutors plotting against me.
“This is very unfortunate. I have instructed my legal practitioners to pursue legal remedies in connection with these chats,” Rubaya said.