Zimbabwe: Mpofu Removed From Remand

Senior Court Reporter

Advocate Thabani Mpofu has been removed from remand by the High Court on his charges of commissioning an affidavit from a non-existent person that was used in an application challenging the appointment of Prosecutor General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi in 2019.

Justice Joseph Musakwa revoked Adv Mpofu's placement on remand when reviewing the decision by Chief Magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi to dismiss Adv Mpofu's challenge to being placed on remand.

The High Court decision does not mean Adv Mpofu cannot be tried on the charges, but the State would have to summon him to court for trial if it wishes to proceed.

On Wednesday, the State indicated that it wanted to reverse its intention to jointly charge Adv Mpofu and lawyers Tapiwa Makanza and Joshua Chirambwi on allegations of creating a fictitious character called Simbabwe Zuze as part of the papers used to mount a challenge to the appointment of Mr Hodzi.

The State had prepared papers for the joint prosecution of the three lawyers, but because of the High Court order, it would continue with Makanza and Chirambwi only. The State led by Mrs Netsai Mushayabasa, then sought for a postponement of the trial to allow her to amend the charge sheet.

Makanza and Chirambwi, through lawyer Mr Obey Shava, opposed to the application for postponement saying the two had not been jointly appearing with Mpofu.

"There is no justification for the postponement made by State. The accused were not being jointly charged with Mpofu and have been on separate records.

"They were placed on remand on June 8, 2020 and it is 11 months now. In between, accused pushed for a trial and the State made an undertaking that it was supposed to come in November 2020 and that had nothing to do with Mpofu.

"The State shifted goal posts and said it was to be in December 2020. Charges against Mpofu arise from same cause of action and same set of circumstances and facts and there was no reason for them to be tried separately.

"If the High Court made a finding that same allegations did not justify a finding that there was reasonable suspicion and the same applies to these two.

"There was no justification for the two to have them charged," said Mr Shava. He then applied that Makanza and Chirambwi be removed from remand since Mpofu had been removed by the High Court.

Magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje allowed for the postponement and set the trial date as June 24.

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