Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
At least 11 witnesses, including deputy Prosecutor General Mrs Florence Ziyambi, are testifying against suspended Prosecutor General Mr Johannes Tomana, who is facing a slew of charges, chief among them criminal abuse of office and gross incompetence.
Some of the witnesses are senior prosecutors in the Prosecutor General’s Office and others who left the public office to venture into private practice.
This comes as the Tribunal set up by President Mugabe in terms of Section 187 (3) of the Constitution to probe Tomana wrote to the President seeking a third extension to complete the probe.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza confirmed to our Harare Bureau yesterday that the Tribunal, being chaired by retired judge Justice Moses Chinhengo, sought a third extension that was now running until March.
She said Mr Tomana would also bring his own witnesses whose number could not be verified as of yesterday. “The Tribunal has sought another extension that has since been granted and they are now continuing with the hearing,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
“This was as a result of too many witnesses who wanted to testify against the PG and some of them take long to testify. Now, the remaining witnesses are testifying and we hope that by March the Tribunal will be done with the hearing.”
Initially, the Tribunal was supposed to complete the hearing in October last year and failed to meet that deadline.
It then asked for another extension that lapsed in December.
The Tribunal seeks to establish Mr Tomana’s conduct with respect to court orders issued by the High Court and another issued by the Supreme Court in cases between Francis Maramwidze versus Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and another, Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd versus Attorney-General and Professor Charles Muchemwa Nherera versus Jayesh Shah.
In the case of Maramwidze, Mr Tomana is accused of refusing or failing to issue him with a certificate for private prosecution as ordered by the High Court on May 14, 2014.
He is facing the same charge in the Telecel (Pvt) Ltd case after he was ordered to issue a certificate by the Supreme Court in five days on January 8, 2014.
The Tribunal seeks to establish whether Mr Tomana was not only in contempt of court, but also in violation of the Oath of Office and the Constitution by refusing or failing to obey the court orders.
It is understood that the Tribunal also seeks to establish whether or not Mr Tomana’s conduct was inappropriate and an abuse of office with regards to persons who were his clients prior to his appointment as Prosecutor-General.
Through his office or officers he authorised, Mr Tomana is accused of refusing to support the conviction on appeal of Prof Nherera, who was his former client.
Mr Tomana is further accused of withdrawing charges of contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:6) against Mr Bright Matonga, who is his former client, citing unavailability of witnesses, yet they were available.
Mr Tomana is also accused of refusing to prosecute Mr Matonga on charges of culpable homicide, citing untenable reasons at law.
In another charge, the Tribunal seeks to establish whether or not Mr Tomana himself inappropriately and in abuse of office stopped the trial of Beauty Basile, who was charged with several counts of contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:23) and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).
The circumstances for stopping the trial are being viewed as unwarranted and against the weight of evidence against Basile.