Zimbabwe Chief Justice Luke Malaba has been called to resign in the wake of rampant corruption scandals.
ZimEye has exclusive obtained a letter written by local businessman Tendai Mashamhanda with damning evidence of the judiciary malpractices.
Below we publish the letter in full
41 Ridgeway North
08 February 2024
Judicial Service Commission
JSC House 161 J Chinamano and 7th Street
Dear Honourable Chief Justice of Republic of Zimbabwe
RE: FAILURE TO ACT ON COMPLAINT LETTERS AGAINST HIGH COURT, SUPREME COURT, AND JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION SECRETARY.
On 12th of January 2024, I submitted to you a letter which referred to my letter of 12th January 2023.
In my letter dated 12th January 2023, I detailed my complaint against several judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court. My complaint is detailed in the letters I submitted to you and to the Honourable Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs dated 31May 2022, 28 August 2022, 23rd December 2022, and 6th November 2023. The Honourable Minister advised that all the letters submitted to him were forwarded to you for your consideration and response to the allegations made against the judges.
Regrettably, to date (8 February 2024) I have not received a response to any of my letters. I am alive to your tactics. YOU IGNORE LEGITIMATE COMPLAINTS FROM ME, FROM JSC STAFF, MAGISTRATES, HIGH COURT JUDGES, SUPREME COURT JUDGES AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AS A STRATEGY OF SWEEPING THE ISSUES RAISED UNDER THE CARPET. YOU HOPE THAT THESE ISSUES WILL DIE A NATURAL DEATH THEREBY PROTECTING YOU FROM ACCOUNTABILITY.
I also note with regret that you have resorted to a new tactic of sweeping my legitimate complains under the carpet.
On 6 February 2024 I received a letter from the Secretary Judicial Service Commission. The letter completely avoids issues I raised. I quote part of the
letter, “In light of the clearly defamatory statements, and the abuse of the complaint procedure in the letter to the office of the Chief Justice dated 12 January 2024, and the various letters addressed to the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the office of the Chief Justice is unable to assist you.”
The letter is extremely irrelevant and does not address the issues raised. It is simply a futile attempt to sweep matters raised under the carpet.
In my view, you also resort to this strategy to protect corrupt practices by Judges and the Secretary Judicial Service Commission. You are fully aware that some of the judges and the Secretary Judicial Service Commission are extremely corrupt and operate as a cartel to deny the people of Zimbabwe the Justice they deserve.
I detail below observations made by State Institutions some years back and complaints from your staff, including Magistrates, High Court Judges, Supreme Court Judges, Constitutional Court Judges and members of the public which support my conclusion that you sweep legitimate complaints under the carpet.
This information is in the public domain.
ACTING PROSECUTOR GENERAL CLAIMED PLOT TO KILL HIM BY JUSTICE SYSTEM CAPTURE CARTEL’
November 2, 2018
The Acting Prosecutor General at that time said and I quote “A cartel made up of police officers, lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges working with powerful politicians has corrupted the justice delivery system in Zimbabwe and is prepared to kill to get its way.” He went on further to say that “If you see some of the intelligence that we have in terms of corruption here, it has become a threat to the survival of government because the syndicates now are so powerful, they rival the power of government.” Mr Hodzi told the interview panel which included you Honourable Chief Justice.
LOICE MATANDA MOYO FORMER CHAIRPERSON IN ZACC FLAGGS CORRUPTION IN COURTS REPORTED 3 DECEMBER 2022.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) said a study had shown the country‘s judiciary was riddled with corruption, which threatened to undermine the country’s entire justice delivery system. Citing a report by Transparency International Zimbabwe, which identified the court system as a corruption Hotspot, ZACC chairperson Loice Matanda Moyo said hard work being done by the country’s law enforcement agencies, including her agency was being undermined by suspected graft at the courts. The chairperson went on to say that,
“Justice must never be for sale, the day justice is for sale, we are doomed as a country.”
COMPLAINT BY HIGH COURT AND SUPREME COURT JUDGES 26 0CTOBER 2020. RE: UNTENABLE WORKING CONDITIONS WITHIN THE JUDICIARY.
I quote part of what was said by the Honourable judges in their letter
It is now an open secret that the Chief Justice now routinely interferes with the Magistrates and their decisions through the Chief Magistrate’s office.
The promotion without interviews of senior personnel within the JSC means that complains fall on deaf ears.
Judges are therefore now so afraid of their own jobs that they consciously and sub consciously make decisions that they consider safe, even if these do not accord with the law.
Where certain decisions are made which are unpopular with the Chief Justice, parties are directed to appeal with guarantees of success on appeal.
It is also an open secret that no Supreme Court Judgement can be delivered without the Chief Justice approval.
There is also what the Chief Justice calls “Judgment by consensus”, a euphemism for discouraging dissenting judgements. Where the chief justice is approached by a “favoured dissenter”, the dissenting judgement can be converted into the main judgment on instruction from the Chief Justice.
It is an open secret that most of the decisions paraded as JSC decisions are in fact the Chief Justice’s personal decisions which he instructs the Secretary of the JSC to communicate as Commissioners decisions.
There are also many other transactions that have raised eyebrows including the purchase of the Chief Justice’s residence where the owner received much less than the amount requestioned from government.
The deliberately uninvestigated acts of nepotism and sexual harassment. Allegations against senior personnel within the JSC hierarchy remain cause for concern.
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ADVERSE REPORT ON JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION IECMS SYSTEM
The Committee issued an adverse report on SI 153 of 2023 High Court (Amendment) rules 2023. Which introduced the IECMS system saying, in its current form the platform precludes the general public from accessing justice. The PLC noted that the introduction of the system did not consider that the majority of the country’s population lives in rural areas where there is limited or no access to the internet. The implementation of the system is unconstitutional.
COMPLAINT LETTER BY LITIGANT RE THREATS AND HARRASMENT BY JUSTICE BACHI-MUZAVAZI IN CHAMBERS.
On 26 September 2022, the Judicial Service Commission wrote to a litigant advising that her complaint dated 16 September 2022 was placed before the Chief Justice who has indicated that it is now under investigation. You, the Honourable Chief Justice did nothing. You chose to sweep the matter under the carpet. You protected the judge from scrutiny.
STATE OF THE NATION REPORTER APRIL 17, 2020 – CORRUPTION, ABUSE OF OFFICE, SEXUAL HARRASMENT ROCKS JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION
The newspaper reported that massive corruption, nepotism, sexual harassment, and abuse of office have reportedly rocked the Judiciary Services Commission (JSC) under the watch of the country’s law enforcement agents, State of the nation has learnt. The Secretary Judicial Service Commission Mr Chikwanha was alleged to have misused the V.F.C funds which were donated by UNICEF and Save The Children in 2013 in the company of his deputy, Mr Mutevedzi. These allegations were reportedly raised to the ZRP, ZACC, the Prosecutor General and the Chief Justice’s office but no investigations were made. The complains were swept under the carpet. Mr Chikwanha and other leaders in the J.S.C are alleged to have sexually harassed a lot of women in the J.S.C. They demand sex from female members of the organisation. Those who submit to their demands are rewarded with promotions, appointments, and favours to silence them while those who reject them are either demoted, transferred, or suspended.
Another reported complaint from J.S.C. employees stated and I quote, “These 4 guys (meaning your senior employees) are mighty and that explains why even the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority), the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) or even ZACC ( Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) have in the past deliberately deterred themselves to proceed against them regardless that there are dossiers with strong evidence linking them to serious allegations of corruption, bribery, abuse of office under hand deals, deliberately infecting subordinates with HIV/AIDS and externalisation of funds etc.”
SHOWBIZ NEWSLETTER DATED 24 OCTOBER 2023 SECRETARY FOR JUSTICE SERVICES COMMISSION WALTER CHIKWANHA ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION AND OFFICE ABUSE.
A whistleblower from within the Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C) has exposed a culture of corruption and abuse of office at the highest levels of the Zimbabwean Judiciary. The insider also claimed that Chikwanha and his assistant Msipa have been engaged in sexual harassment and abuse of female colleagues. The paper also alleged that, the Chief Registrar was appointed to her position due to her relationship with Chief Justice Luke Malaba, rather on merit. It goes on to say that it is well known that she is Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s girlfriend. The insider also accused Malaba and Chikwanha of looting funds earmarked for an online tracking and virtual system for the court.
DAILY MIRROR NEWS DATED 2 January 2024 J.S.C. boss Walter Chikwanha in US$34 million MASSIVE CORRUPTION SCANDAL
Walter Chikwanha, the Secretary of the Judiciary Service Commission (J.S.C) is under fire over claims that he embezzled money worth at least US$34 million and damaged the treasury. Chikwanha is accused of bringing in an online tracking and virtual system platform from Armenia and the shady transaction was completed without following the law and without putting out a tender. The system is believed to be worth less than US$1 million. This means treasury lost US$33 million. With money from the reprehensible sale Chikwanha acquired various properties. One cannot rule out massive externalisation of funds. Funds are then laundered to different countries using a well-known Zimbabwean money launderer. ZiMetro News obtained access to a linked dossier that included the damning accusations and named Chief Justice Luke Malaba who is alleged of providing protection for Chikwanha. The dossier further states that Panashe, Chikwanha son, “has been given an office at J.S.C, a car and he is on salary payroll but not an employee.” Numerous allegations of sexual harassment of subordinate female employees including marriage bombings have been reported against Walter Chikwanha.
ABUSE OF TENDER PROCEDURES
J.S.C employees raised alarm bells regarding failure by Chikwanha to follow the law when awarding tenders. Tenders are awarded in favour of relatives like Martin Chikwanha in disregard of High Court rules which forbid awarding of tenders to anyone with links to staff members. It is conflict of interest.
I) ABUSE OF JUDICIAL AUCTIONS
Hollands Auctions a company owned by Mr Chikwanha’s brother Martin operated on behalf of the Sheriff in Bulawayo and Mutare. Hollands Auctions auctioned attached goods in Chiadzwa Diamond. The amount realised from the auction was US2 million. Holland Auction, Chikwanha and Madega manipulated paperwork and remitted less than US200 000 to the Sheriff’s coffers. Mr Chikwanha also derived material and financial benefits from Drew and Fraser Auctioneers, a company which belongs to him but fronted by a relative Euphrasia Mupedzisi.
Properties sold at judicial offices benefit mostly judicial officers and cronies. One senior judicial officer is alleged to own at least 68 houses acquired through fake manipulated judicial auctions. Several hard-working citizens lose their properties for nothing because of rampant corruption in the judiciary. Victims of fake judicial auctions filed numerous cases of fraud by the Sheriff of the High Court. The cases lie idle at the Anti-Corruption Commission offices.
G) Cancellation of my title deed
I bought my property 41 Ridgeway North Highlands in good faith and for value. The record of proceedings in the High Court shows that none of the parties were able to, rebut that assertion. The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe manufactured numerous lies to justify cancellation of my title deeds for the benefit of a cartel member.
Some of the lies are 1. That there was a caveat registered against the property yet the was no caveat. 2. That the property was auctioned, and Bariadie Investments was the highest bidder. The property was not auctioned. 3. That Justice Chitapi held an unscheduled hearing during which a default judgment was granted in favour of Puwayi Chiutsi. The hearing was scheduled and agreed to by all parties as demonstrated by the record of proceedings. 4. That Bariadie filed an application for leave to appeal against justice Chitapi’s refusal to recuse himself. It is a lie no appeal was filed.
In a futile attempt to disguise the lies and misrepresentations in the judgment the Supreme Court working in cahoots with the Secretary Judicial Services Commission and Bariadie manufactured a bogus complaint letter. Supreme Court researchers were corrupted and probably coerced to collaborate lies that there is a caveat and that the hearing by Justice Chitapi was unscheduled. Known cartel lawyers, Advocate Mapuranga, Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Tendai Biti represented by Diana Kawenda signed false affidavits lying that the Hearing on 20 July 2021 during which the default judgment was granted was unscheduled. Tendai Biti is a convicted criminal. A criminal docket against Biti of inciting public violence on 1st August 2018 was removed from court system and is allegedly being held by the former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice.
Gill Godlonton and Gerrans attorneys also played an unholy role in this matter. They served papers on Chiutsi using a wrong address to frustrate disposition of the fake auction matter in the High Court. That strongly implies that they knew that the Supreme Court had already made a pre-determined judgment in favour of their client Bariadie Investments. This is corruption.
SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS AND CREDIBILITY
Allegations came from different Institutions, Magistrates, High Court Judges, Supreme Court judges and Judicial Services Commission employees. They independently arrive at the same conclusion. The judiciary under your watch Honourable Chief Justice is very corrupt. My case confirms the conclusions already made by other independent parties.
Sexual abuse of several female employees by senior J.S.C. staff over several years.
You are aware of the abuse but failed to act presumably because of loyalty to the criminal cartel. In my view you are an accomplice. The victims were subjected to Cruel Inhuman degrading treatment in violation of their rights protected by section 53 of the Constitution.
Relationship with a junior female employee.
If the allegation is true which can easily be verified means that you are not a fit and proper person to Head the Judiciary on moral grounds alone.
Externalisation of funds
This means J.S.C is involved in criminal activities calculated to undermine authority of Government promoting interests of the Cartel which captured the Judiciary. In my opinion it is treasonous.
Corruption, bribery, abuse of office and under hand deals
This is demonstrated by the way procurement and judicial auctions are held. Total disregard of the law to show favour to cartel members.
Justice for sale
Of course, justice is for sale in Zimbabwe. People know it. You failed to act against it hiding behind the veil of Judicial Independence. You deny judicial officers their independence. According to the former ZACC chairperson we are doomed as a country when we reach this stage. I believe you have driven our country to that stage.
To me it means a polite way by Judges to say you take bribes.
The Judicial Services Commission has under your leadership failed to respect and fulfil the founding values and principles covered in section 3 of the constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe. This is the rule of law and principles of good governance which are respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom the authority to govern is derived. Transparency, Justice, accountability, and responsiveness.
In order to protect the integrity of the judicial system in Zimbabwe and the interests of the people of Zimbabwe YOU MUST RESIGN AS A MATTER URGENCY. The three Honourable judges of the Supreme Court that is Honourable Deputy Chief Justice Gwaunza, Honourable Justice Guvava and Honourable Justice Bhunu must resign. They brought shame and disgrace to the Judiciary through manufacturing lies which they in cooperated in their judgment. They also abused their offices by compelling young researchers to lie for the benefit of a fraudulent judgment in favour of a cartel member. The two Honourable Justices of the High Court, Katiyo and Chirau-Mugomba and three honourable Justices of the Constitutional Court, Justice Garwe, Justice Hlatshwayo and Justice Patel must be subjected to tribunal Hearings. Apart from what I said in my complaint letters their conduct advanced the agenda of the cartel to deny me justice.
Justice delayed is justice denied!
Cc: Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
: Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
: The Chairperson of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission
: Zimbabwe Gender Commision
:The Chairperson Parliamentary Legal Committee
: The Chief Secretary Office of the President and Cabinet