Advocate Mpofu Freed on $20,000 Bail

Chief Magistrate Munavato Mutevedzi on Wednesday 3 June 2020 set free Advocate Thabani Mpofu on RTGS$20 000 after he appeared at Harare Magistrates Court facing several charges including defeating or obstructing the course of justice and perjury.

Advocate Mpofu was arrested on Monday 1 June 2020 and charged with committing various offences including defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(d) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act alternatively, fraud as defined in section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and alternatively perjury as defined in section 183(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Advocate Mpofu, who was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa and Raymond Moyo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was also charged with corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal as defined in section 172(1)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

On Count 1, which is a charge of corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal as defined in section 172(1)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, prosecutor Michael Reza of the National Prosecuting Authority alleged that the 38 year-old Advocate Mpofu connived with Everson Samukange, who was a Professional Assistant at Venturas & Samukange Legal Practitioners in 2017, to divert a contract entered into between Senziwani Sikhosana, the Managing Director of Access Finance and Venturas & Samukange Legal Practitioners, wherein Everson Samukange would represent Sikhosana in an undisclosed civil matter.

Reza alleged that Everson Samukange received US$6 000, which was deposited into his Standard Chartered Bank account from Sikhosana through Access Finance which he later conveyed to Advocate Mpofu.

On Count 2, which is a charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(d) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Reza alleged that in January 2019, Advocate Mpofu attempted to defeat the course of justice by conniving with Goodlicky Tapiwa Makanza and Advocate Choice Damiso to draft an affidavit in the name of Simbarashe Zuze, who is non-existent, to purport as if Zuze had sworn an affidavit before Advocate Damiso with the aid of Makanza, who professed to be his lawyer.

Advocate Mpofu, Reza said, went on to lodge the said affidavit at the Constitutional Court before Justice Paddington Garwe bearing only the name of Simbarashe Zuze without any other identification details under case number CCZ03/2019 to purport as if Zuze was challenging the appointment of Kumbirai Hodzi as Prosecutor-General.

By so doing, Reza charged, Advocate Mpofu, Makanza and Advocate Damiso intended to cause the Constitutional Court to nullify Hodzi’s appointment as Prosecutor-General on the basis of a fictitious person who did not have the necessary locus standi.

The application seeking to nullify Hodzi’s appointment as Prosecutor-General, Reza said, was struck off the Constitutional Court roll on suspicion that it could be fictitious and did not meet some set standards.

On Count 3, which is a charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(d) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act or alternatively perjury as defined in section 183(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Reza alleged that Advocate Mpofu, Joshua Chirambwe and Lawman Chimuriwo, who are yet to be arrested, connived on 7 February 2019 to obstruct any investigations into the existence of Zuze after noting that Zuze’s application had been dismissed.

The trio, Reza said, plagiarised the contents of the affidavit purported to have been made by Zuze and created, with those contents, another affidavit in the name of Chirambwe before filing another application at the Constitutional Court under CCZ04/19. Reza said by filing an application on behalf of Chirambwe with the full knowledge that Zuze’s statement in his application had been challenged by Judicial Service Commission Secretary Walter Chikwana on the basis that Zuze did not exist, Advocate Mpofu intended to defeat and obstruct the course of justice.

In his bail ruling Chief Magistrate Mutevedzi ordered Advocate Mpofu to pay RTGS$20 000 bail, to report at Highlands Police Station once a week on Wednesdays, to continue residing at his given residential address, to deposit a copy of the police report relating to the loss of his passport with the Clerk of Court at Harare Magistrates Court and advise the Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Erasmus Mazhawidza if and when his lost passport is found or if and when he makes an application for a replacement passport.

Chief Magistrate Mutevedzi criticised Reza for making some unsubstantiated allegations during the bail hearing that Advocate Mpofu is likely to abscond from the jurisdiction of the court, interfere with or jeopardise the objectives of the administration of justice.

Mtetwa notified Reza that she will soon file an application challenging whether the facts contained in the charges against Advocate Mpofu disclose an offence.

Advocate Mpofu returns to court on 10 July 2020

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights