Judge accused of soliciting $20 000 bribe in eviction case

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) yesterday accused High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba of soliciting a $20 000 bribe from a Mr Kanokanga in a case she was presiding over. These allegations were leveled against her during an interview in which Justice Chigumba was among eight High Court judges that were being interviewed by the JSC to be considered for elevation to the Supreme Court.

JSC chairman Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said,

I think you are aware that Mr Kanokanga, who was a party in a matter that you presided over has alleged that you, through a third party (name supplied) solicited a bribe for yourself and he refused and paid a price of losing the case. Obviously, the commissioners are really troubled by these allegations.

Chigumba refused the allegations and said Mr Kanokanga, by his own admission, was not mentally sound.,

Mr Kanokanga, during the course of the trial, had indicated that as a result of this eviction, he had become unable to function and had to be treated by doctors for a mental disorder which arose as he said, from the fact that he had been impoverished by the eviction. He was very bitter. So, to answer your question, I did not directly or indirectly do or cause anything to be done which, is inconsistent with my oath of office as a judge or my duty to dispense justice without fear or favour or prejudice. I would like Mr Kanokanga, if he has any evidence that he can avail to the commission of whatever it is, that he is alleging to avail such evidence because an allegation which is baseless and without foundation, in my view, ought not to be allowed to influence anything that is adverse towards me unless and until it is substantiated.

Chigumba recently presided over the demonstration ban challenge by opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) banner, Democratic Restoration Assembly (Dare) leader, Gilbert Dzikiti, Harare resident Stanrick Zvorwadza and the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), where they challenged the legality of  Statutory Instrument 101a of 2016. She ordered the police to follow proper procedures required in coming up with a statutory instruments in order to enforce any prohibition orders.

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