Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Fired Magistrate Loses Appeal

FORMER magistrate Tapera Vhudzijena lost his appeal against dismissal in a case involving abuse of office and corruption. Vhudzijena (45), a former Mwenezi magistrate, had appealed against his dismissal arguing the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should not have fired him because the disciplinary committee recommended demotion and transfer to a bigger station.

Labour Court president Mrs Phildah Muzofa threw out the appeal.

She dismissed Vhudzijena’s defence that when he authorised the sale of exhibits to himself and other court staff he wanted to motivate his team.

“Despite the intention to be a good boss, he was not the employer to motivate staff,” Mrs Muzofa ruled.

“Clearly he abused his powers by stretching them too far.”

Mrs Muzofa upheld the JSC decision to fire Vhudzijena.

Vhudzijena was convicted of abuse of office and corruption by Gweru Provincial Magistrate Mr Sithembinkosi Msipa.

He was slapped with a three-year jail term. One year of the sentence was suspended on condition of good behaviour while a further two years were suspended on condition that he performs 808 hours of community service at Chivhu Clinic.

Vhudzijena had served the bench for 23 years at the time he committed the crime.

The trial court heard that between December 2011 and May 2012, Vhudzijena convicted various suspects on charges of smuggling an assortment of household goods from South Africa.

He ordered the goods forfeited to the State.

Later Vhudzijena ordered a clerk of court, Mr Piniel Muvhunzwi, to auction property that included electrical gadgets, household goods and generators, among other things, to court officials before he also bought some for himself for only US$200.

He bought two inverters, radio, two-plate stove, a television set, two solar panels, two Ds, two power generators, a freezer, a bed comforter and two blankets for US$200.

Investigations by the police led to Vhudzijena’s arrest.

Source : The Herald