JSC summons anti-corruption watchdog to explain the Tomana dossier

Lovemore Lubinda

The Judiciary Services Commission (JSC) has summoned Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) to appear before its tribunal tomorrow as it will sit to hear evidence that will decide on the suitability of Johannes Tomana to remain as Prosecutor General (PG).

The JSC is challenging his suitability for the office on the grounds of his refusal to allow private prosecution of Munyaradzi Kereke for raping a minor, and denying mobile company Telecel the right to privately prosecute businesswoman Jane Mutasa. Tomana was finally arrested by police on charges of abuse of office as public officer or alternatively, defeating the course of justice.

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) six years ago published a foundational evidence dossier whose analysis noted the controversy surrounding Tomana’s appointment as Attorney General (AG), who was also accused of being partisan in the manner he handled his duties.

TIZ executive director Jane Ncube, says her organisation had compiled evidence which demonstrated clearly that Tomana as AG violated and abused terms of his office to assist certain individuals, some of them who were his acquaintances to escape criminal liability, but no action was taken by state until after six years.

“The objective of the compilation was to compel relevant authorities to conduct investigations with the view to determine the suitability of Tomana to remain in office. The dossier called the relevant law enforcement agencies to prosecute him should it be found that he had indeed abused the powers his office bestowed on him,” she says.

She says the dossier went on to highlight that the four cases analysed are that of Beauty Basile, Bright Matonga, Charles Nherera, and Patrick Mavros were not exhaustive, but were already in the public domain, as such easy to access. Ncube adds that it pointed out that there was plenty anecdotal evidence from police and prosecutors pointing out rampant abuse of power by the AG’s office on numerous cases others which were not yet in the public domain.

“This suggests that further forensic investigations needed to be conducted upon receipt of this dossier. However, for six years there was silence and no acknowledgement of the dossier from all law and justice institutions the report had been distributed to,” she adds.

The report had been distributed to the Judicial Services Commission, Law Society of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe Republic Police, and even to the AG’s Office itself.

She says though some may think that Tomana is being prosecuted more for political scores than for his conduct, TIZ views the prosecution as great victory that finally, and for the first time the authorities are living up to their statutory and constitutional mandates by pursuing the investigation of a prominent public official such as former AG on his alleged abuse of office as both AG and as the PG. “Whatever, the outcome of this tribunal this is a seminal case that not only vindicates the work of TIZ as an anti-corruption watchdog, but will set precedence that says there are no sacred cows. Even the big fish with all their political protection, networks, and financial resources to circumvent justice are subject to the rule of law,” she says.

She called on the state not to end with the Tomana tribunal, but also to investigate with transparency, and accountability as well as to desist from being selective in how it treats corruption allegations especially were they implicate high profile individuals.

TIZ is a non profit civil society anti-corruption watchdog that focuses on research, community mobilisation, legal advice, and the strengthening of accountability, transparency and integrity of policy and laws of public and private institutions.