PROMINENT Harare lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu has dragged High Court Judge Justice Webster Chinamora before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Ethics Advisory Committee.
The committee was set up to fight corruption internally and it deals with ethical and integrity issues within the commission.
The development comes after Justice Chinamora handled a matter between Delta Corporation and South African company, Blakey Plastics.
Advocate Mpofu, who represented Delta last year in the matter heard before Justice Chinamora, lodged a complaint against the High Court judge early this year for alleged conflict of interest in the legal dispute won by Blakey Plastics.
Delta appealed against Chinamora’s ruling, which came at a time when a parallel arbitration process was ongoing in South Africa. The South African company engaged Taona Nyamakura.
When he was working on legal advice, Nyamakura was given box files and documents that relate to the dispute. However, as Nyamakura was going through the papers, he allegedly came across Chinamora’s personal documents.
It is alleged that the personal documents included his divorce order, conditions of service, a vehicle registration book for a Land Rover Discovery, lease agreement, company documents and a building plan for his Harare house, among others.
Nyamakura reported the matter to his seniors, including Mpofu of the Advocates Chambers. In turn, Mpofu lodged a complaint with JSC, while Nyamakura reported the issue to the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
The complaint by Mpofu is being supported by Scanlen and Holderness legal practitioners. Contacted for comment, JSC secretary Walter Chikwanha confirmed that the matter was tabled before the ethics board and investigations were ongoing.
“I do confirm that the JSC is seized with the complaint made against Justice Chinamora and that the matter was referred to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. The investigations are still in progress,” Chikwanha said.
Of late, there have been complaints raised against the conduct of judges and some centre around reporting late for work, which has contributed to delays in the conclusion of cases at the High Court. Three judges have been fired by High Court in the last three years for various offences.
In April, Justice Thompson James Mabhikwa was fired after his nudes went viral; in 2021, Justice Erica Ndewera was dismissed for “gross incompetence” and in 2020, Supreme Court Judge Justice Francis Bere was discharged for interfering in a civil process.
In April this year, Mnangagwa appointed a tribunal to investigate High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore’s suitability for office after she allegedly failed to report for duty since last year.