Rusape court officials jailed
TWO junior court officials based at Rusape Magistrates’ Court — Oliver Gabriel (48) and Merlin Mugejo (31) — were last week convicted by Mutare provincial magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe and jailed for 24 months.
The two, who are locked up at Mutare Remand Prison, duped relatives of an accused person of money and goods after lying that they could release the incarcerated from remand.
Gabriel, a Clerk of Court, and Mugejo, a general hand, were represented by Rusape lawyer Mr Leonard Chigadza of Chigadza & Associates Legal Practitioners and were denying the allegations.
Mr Brian Goto prosecuted and secured their conviction after proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the two convicts demanded and received $420, 10 bags of maize and two broiler chickens from Getrude Sakala after pledging to facilitate the release of her son, Joseph Kamushinda, who was in custody facing rape charges.
Kamushinda was arrested on April 20, 2014 on rape charges and was taken to court after 48 hours and was remanded in custody.
Sometime in April 2014, Sakala, Joyce Kamushinda and Future Musindo were walking in the corridors at Rusape Magistrates’ Court chatting to a lawyer seeking legal services when Mugejo summoned them to her office.
Mugejo took the three out of the court building to listen to their problem and advised them to stop engaging a lawyer, but to seek assistance from James Wirima, then a prosecutor who was handling the case.
Mugejo demanded and received a consultation fee of $20 from Sakala.
Musindo and Joyce witnessed the transaction.
“Mugejo left indicating that she would take the money to Mr Wirima. She returned and informed the three that the prosecutor wanted $6 000 and gave the trio a three-day deadline,” said Mr Goto.
The three sold their tobacco and raised $300 and gave it to Mugejo in the presence of Gabriel, who was tasked to count the money.
Mr Goto said Gabriel left the office en route to Wirima’s office and returned claiming that he had accepted the money, but wanted an additional $100 to finalise the case.
“The three sold their maize and proceeded to Mugejo’s house where they gave her the $100. They also took 10 bags of maize and two broiler chickens to her house to settle the balance.” However, Sakala later learnt that the two convicts had deceived them when police came to her homestead looking for Joseph who had been released from custody.
Joseph was wanted in connection with the same case.
Sakala was deprived of money and goods worth $832 and nothing was recovered.
Mr Chigadza said he would appeal against both conviction and sentence.