HIGH Court judge Justice Joseph Chilimbe has delivered a blow to former colleague, Justice Erica Ndewere on her application against the involvement of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary Walter Chikwana as she fights to keep her service vehicle.
JSC had written to Ndewere’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa asking the former judge to surrender her official vehicle following her dismissal.
But Ndewere through her lawyer said she was entitled to buy the vehicle and asked JSC to process her terminal benefits procedurally, including her pension and annual leave days. JSC then applied to the High Court to repossess the car.
However, Ndewere challenged Chikwana’s involvement and posed the question whether Chikwanha had the authority to take Ndewere to court without a JSC meeting having made that decision.
But in his ruling, Chilimbe said Chikwana’s authority to institute proceedings independently from his statutory responsibilities was not pronounced by the respondent and such a finding should not be presumed.
“In that regard, if this court, together with the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court found the resolution valid for such grave constitutional measure, then surely the same resolution should suffice for purposes of a significantly lesser contest over the asset.
“Having considered the arguments submitted on behalf of the JSC, I find no substance in the challenge to the validity of the JSC resolution, and the subsequent deposition of the founding affidavit by Chikwanha, such validity to institute the present proceedings, having been established and confirmed by this court, the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.
“Accordingly, I order, that the preliminary objections missed by the respondent be and are hereby disallowed with costs in the cause,” Justice Chilimbe ruled.
Justice Chilimbe also ruled that Mtetwa raised a point that the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice ought to have recused themselves from the JSCs proceedings of June 6, 2019, which resolved to authorise Chikwana to institute the present proceedings, the reason for such recusal being that the Chief Justice and his deputy had been involved in proceedings leading to her removal from office.
Chilimbe ruled that Ndewere should have furnished the court with evidence to support such a claim.