Businessman seeks minister’s intervention on abuse of office allegations

Source: Businessman seeks minister’s intervention on abuse of office allegations | The Herald (Crime & Court News)

On May 31 last year, Mr Tendai Mashamhanda raised several red flags over the manner in which the Supreme Court handled his property dispute case and alleged collusion among senior judicial officers and lawyers to influence the case’s outcome.

Crime Reporter 

A HARARE businessman has written another letter to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, requesting a response to allegations he recently raised of criminal abuse of office, conflict of interest and obstructing the course of justice against some judges, lawyers and the Judicial Service Commission.

On May 31 last year, Mr Tendai Mashamhanda raised several red flags over the manner in which the Supreme Court handled his property dispute case and alleged collusion among senior judicial officers and lawyers to influence the case’s outcome.

He alleged that the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court abused the independence of the Judiciary, the supremacy of the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal in non-constitutional matters.

Mr Mashamhanda said the Justices had “breached their oaths of office” and therefore “must resign to prevent further damage to the integrity of our justice system”.

When contacted for comment, Minister Ziyambi said he will check on the contents of the letter today. He however, confirmed receiving some of the letters which were previously written by Mr Mashamhanda adding that he had forwarded some of the complaints to the JSC for investigations and is awaiting a response.

In the latest letter to Minister Ziyambi, Mr Mashamhanda said he was requesting a response to the complaints he had made.

The letter dated 23 December 2022, was copied to the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary, Judge president, Secretary for the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Registrar of Deeds and the Attorney General.

“I refer to my letters dated 31st of May 2022 and 25th of August 2022. I have not received any response or feedback regarding the outcome of the complaint I raised against three judges.

 “On top of other irregularities contained in my two letters, I demonstrated that the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court out rightly lied on a number of occasions. There are however, three big lies which demonstrate that there was collusion between the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court researchers, the appellants and the appellants’ lawyers,” reads part of the 23 page letter.

Mr Mashamhanda alleged that the collusion demonstrates in clear terms that “the Supreme Court Judgement based on lies was made outside the Supreme Court by a number of unauthorised persons”. 

“The Supreme Court then sanitised a judgment made by collaborators and adopted it as its own. This is in my view fraudulent. There are big lies which are collaborated through collusion. Lie number 1: that there was a caveat registered against the title deeds. Lie number two: that the house was auctioned at a Judicial auction. Lie number 3: that a High Court Judge held an unscheduled court hearing of the main application on 20 July 2021 and granted a corrupt default judgement in favour of (Harare lawyer) Puwayi Chiutsi,” he said.

At the centre of the dispute is a Harare property in Highlands bought by Mr Mashamhanda in 2019 from lawyer Mr Puwayi Chiutsi for US$230 000 through a local real estate agent.

In the letter to the Justice Minister, Mr Mashamhanda accused a local company, Bariade investments and Supreme Court researchers of making similar statements which he said were totally false and baseless. 

“The people making the statements are supposed to be working independent of each other. The fact that they come with similar statements which are false can only mean one thing, they worked in cahoots and collaborated to give legitimacy to the lies.

“My founding affidavit dated 12 April 2019 is in the Supreme court record and is there for anyone to read. I never said that I saw a caveat or that my father saw a caveat’’. In my affidavit I said a statement to the contrary and I quote, “while the allegation is made that the sheriff placed a caveat on the property the instrument with which this was done has not been placed before the court. An allegation to the effect that a caveat was placed should be supported by proof of that allegation,” Mr Mashamhanda said. 

He said Bariade lnvestments never participated in any auction sale of the house and this can be proved from fake documents in the record of proceedings in the High Court and the Supreme Court.

He expressed concern over an issue that had been raised alleging that a High Court Judge had held an unscheduled hearing on July 20, 2021 and granted a default judgement in favour of Mr Chiutsi.

Mr Mashamhanda said some lawyers representing Bariade Investments and Mr Tendai Biti had also been misleading the courts by submitting “lies” in the High court in support of a fake application for rescission of default judgement.

“The lawyers were fully aware that a Court hearing was agreed upon on 6 July 2021 and the hearing for the matter had been set for 20 July 2021. There is evidence on record that they were aware of the date and chose to lie for purposes of collaborating with the Honourable Supreme Court Justices.

“At Page 38 of the Supreme Court Judgement, the Supreme Court lies and states that the hearing scheduled for 20 July 2021 related to the application by the applicant,” Mr Mashamhanda said.

He said in his view, the allegation that a High Court judge held an unscheduled Court hearing on July 20 July 2021 for the specific purpose of granting a default judgement in favour of Mr Chiutsi was false, malicious and scandalous.

“The Supreme Court is a court of record and must make its decision based on the information placed before the Supreme Court. Any review of a lower court’s decision must be based on the record of proceedings and not on lobbying and or by soliciting for false information from numerous sources. It is clear that the Supreme Court was determined at all costs to nullify the default judgement of the High Court.

“The integrity and professional competences of a High Court Judge is put into question by the Highest court in the land in respect of non-constitutional matters. It’s comments regarding a High court judge’s conduct has got far reaching consequences which even go far beyond the jurisdiction of Zimbabwe’s judiciary system. In short the Honourable Judge may be incapacitated from seeking employment anywhere within the judiciary system of any country because of this serious allegation against the high court judge which is based on total falsehoods.”

He said the judgement alleged that he had connived with Mr Chiutsi and Deeds officials to obtain title deeds. 

“This allegation is wrong, false, unfair and cannot be made in the absence of any evidence supporting improper conduct on my part and the government officials. I believe it is a smokescreen to cover up alleged numerous corrupt practices by the appellants,” Mr Mashamhanda said.

He said there was also a conflict of interest by some of the judges since some of them also held positions in the Judicial Service Commission. 

“At the time the complaint letter was written, the Supreme Court was deliberating on its Judgement. In short what this means is that they were running two parallel processes at the same time adjudicating Bariade Investments complaint letter and adjudicating the appeal by Bariade and Tendai Biti in the Supreme court. In the circumstances it is difficult for anyone to be convinced that the Judicial Service Commission as an institution can handle my complaint issues in an independent and impartial manner’’, he said.

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