Supreme Court judge Justice Francis Bere is under investigation after President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed a tribunal to look into fitness to hold the office after a lawyer accused him of interference in a civil case.
Retired judge Simbi Mubako assisted by lawyers Advocate Takawira Nzombe and Rekayi Maphosa have been selected to investigate Justice Bere.
The investigation into the judge’s conduct follows a complaint by lawyer Itai Ndudzo of Mutamangira and Associates, acting for the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) who are involved in a civil dispute with a company called Fremus Enterprises, which is allegedly owned by the judge’s relatives.
In his complaint made before Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, Ndudzo said:
The learned judge indeed contacted me telephonically. The commercial dispute between my client (Zinara) and Fremus Enterprises Pvt Ltd was discussed in the course of the conversation.
The learned judge’s relatives are co-directors of Fremus Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd. The learned judge inquired whether or not there would be a possibility of payment being expedited to Fremus (Pvt) Ltd.
I declined the request and the conversation ended abruptly on that note.
The Investigation into Justice Bere’s conduct was confirmed in a statement on Monday by Cabinet Secretary Misheck Sibanda. He said:
Please be advised that His Excellency, the President has appointed a Tribunal to inquire into the question of removal from office of Honourable Justice Francis Bere.
The inquiry is expected to commence soon after the swearing-in of the members and is to be concluded within three months from the date of commencement.
Meanwhile, the judge has denied Ndudzo’s account saying the call was a purely social discussion.