HARARE – Harare Regional Magistrate, Ngoni Nduna, on Monday recused himself from presiding over Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator for Zengeza West, Job Sikhala’s court case.
Nduna said he will no longer lead the Sikhala case, in which he is accused of evading legal proceedings, after he allegedly sent a video to mislead investigators covering the murder of activist Moreblessing Ali.
During the sentence hearing, Nduna said: “It may be inappropriate to proceed with the case as the defendant feels he cannot fight to the best of his abilities.
“In this case, let it pass to another court, so his recusal request is granted,” Nduna said.
Sikhala, through his attorneys Jeremiah Bamu and Beatrice Mtetwa, filed his motion to dismiss the case last Thursday.
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In his petition, Sikhala challenged the hearing of his case before an Anti-Corruption Court (ACC) and asked Magistrate Nduna, who is leading his case, to resign.
Sikhala also complained in his motion that the same magistrate had previously denied him bail for another case on that ground he will biased.
The state also responded to the request on Friday last week.
In response, the State had denied the request on the grounds that the ACC was mandated to deal with specific cases and that Magistrate Nduna had not dealt with the case out of interest, but the case had been assigned to him.
The state added that any magistrate, from senior to junior, can handle any case as long as it falls within their jurisdiction.
However, Mtetwa challenged the state, saying it lacked the basis for the claim.
She said their request was based not only on the fact that the defendants had already appeared before Nduna, but that the State should answer the question of why a case which should have jurisdiction in the provincial court is before the regional court.
Mtetwa also said, “Sikhala is entitled to fear that his rights are likely to be violated because of the history of civil society activists, opposition party leaders and any person purported to be an enemy of the State never get bail in the ACC.”
Sikhala’s lawyer added that the defendant should seek a recusal himself.
- Editor/ Techmag