Former Karoi magistrate Amanda Muridzo and clerk of court Shelter Kachirika have each been sentenced to an effective one year in prison after they were convicted of taking a US$20 bribe to tilt a maintenance claim in favour of a defendant.
The defendant, David Mazowi, will join them in prison for an effective six months for paying the bribe.
Muridzo and Kachirika were each sentenced to 18 months in jail when they were convicted by Harare regional magistrate Mrs Bianca Makwande for bribery.
But Mrs Makwande set aside six months of the terms for five years on condition they do not commit a similar offence within that period.
Mazowi had a larger slice of his sentence suspended. He was initially jailed for 12 months before also having six months suspended on condition of good behaviour.
The trial also marked the widening of prosecutions, whereby those who pay bribes are seen by the law as guilty as those who receive them.
Agreed facts are that on August 27, 2018, Sinafi Chidoko, former wife to Mazowi, filed an application for a maintenance order for herself and two minor children she had with Mazowi.
The claim was for US$250 monthly maintenance and the case was set down for hearing on September 11, 2018.
During that same month, prior to the maintenance claim hearing, Mazowi and Kachirika met and agreed to try and get Muridzo to favourably determine the maintenance case in favour of Mazowi.
Kachirika approached Muridzo and sold the plan.
When the application was heard on September 11, 2018, Muridzo granted the maintenance claim, but reduced the amount to US$50 from the US$250, which was sought by Chidoko.
On October 1, 2018, Mazowi filed an application against Mrs Chidoko and Muridzo again ruled in his favour. On October 2, 2018, Mazowi sent Kachirika US$20 by Ecocash and Kachirika then transferred all the money to Muridzo.
An anonymous caller told Mrs Chidoko that money was changing hands between her ex-husband and the court and that she would never win a case against Mazowi.
She reported the matter and investigations followed, and they revealed that there were indeed cash transactions among the three. -Herald