Eyebrows Raised As President Mnangangwa Appoints Bribe Accused Justice Priscilla Chigumba Election Commission Chief

The decision of President ED Mnangagwa to appoint High Court Judge Priscilla Chigumba , who in 2016 solicited for a $20 000 bribe from one of the parties in a case she was presiding over as head of the election agency has not only raised eyebrows of the general public  but also of some her peers  who are now questioning the president’s judgement.

Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Chigumba will replace Justice Rita Makarau who resigned under unclear circumstances in December last year.

It was alleged that Justice Priscilla Chigumba solicited for a $20 000 bribe from one of the parties in a case she was presiding over.

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Justice Chigumba was grilled by members of the JSC led by the late  Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku over a complaint that it received to the effect that the judge had sent an agent to solicit for a bribe from a Mr Kanokanga who was one of the parties in a case in which she was presiding over.

Justice Chidyausiku said the JSC had received a written complaint from Mr Kanokanga and said while they had asked Justice Chigumba to make a written response, she was obliged to comment on the allegations since the commission was troubled over the allegations given that she was now seeking higher office.

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This appointment by Mnangagwa is worrying to the opposition and civic organisations that fear such corrupt officials who are prone to solicit for bribes to such sensitive roles has serious implications in the democratic processes.

Land Reform Views

In 2015, as a High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba ruled that government legally acquired the farms and their sell to Nyambirai was invalid and therefore he cannot seek any compensation or eviction of people who were allocated the farms.

Justice Chigumba pointed out if there is any compensation due to anyone who claim to be the owners of the said farms, that compensation can only be paid by Zimbabwe’s former colonial master, Britain, as clearly stated in the country’s Constitution.

Chigumba will be sworn in on Thursday.Zimbabwe is due to hold elections later this year.

 Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi confirmed the appointment today.

A former St Ignatius High School student, Chigumba obtained 15 Advanced Level points in 1989. She later obtained a Bachelor of Law degree in the United Kingdom.

After graduating she worked in private practice from 1994. Chigumba joined the Justice and Legal Affairs Ministry as a magistrate in 2004.

She served as a resident magistrate and provincial magistrate before being seconded to work as a senior professional research assistant in the Office of the Chief Justice. She was sworn in as Justice of the High Court in December 2012.

 

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