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Businessman reports 'connected' Bulawayo High Court Judge to JSC

Businessman Ismail Moosa Lunat has reported Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Martin Makonese to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) alleging improper conduct after losing an appeal involving a US$1,4 million debt.

Makonese dismissed Lunat's urgent chamber application seeking to stop the Sheriff from executing his property over a debt he owed to another businessman Mohammed Zakariya Patel.

The complainant says he suspects the judge may have been bribed by Patel, whom he accuses of bragging about having connections in the judiciary and government.

Lunat further alleged that the judgment, emanating from a fraud scandal, was purportedly issued by Justice Christopher Dube-Banda when the matter was in fact handled by Makonese.

"When the court order or judgment was extracted, I was shocked that the order was now in Justice Banda's name. I am aware that Banda, for good reason, could not and did not deal with this matter because it originated from his very hands when he was still a lawyer in private practice," Lunat wrote.

If Banda did indeed deal with the matter, Lunat argued, then that raises serious ethical questions, adding if he did not, then the judicial commission should establish why his name appeared on the order.

He added: "And if Makonese indeed dealt with the matter, why would his name not appear on the order. Was this a typographical error? In fact, which judge dealt with the matter? Whose judgment did the Sheriff use in the morning of March 12, 2021, to proceed with execution? Who furnished Patel with such judgment given the same was spared the agony of even responding to my case?"

Lunat wrote that because of his poor financial standing, he was unable to honour his US$1,4 million debt to Patel for a very long time and that he ended up asking for assistance from his well-off brother.

And when the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling last year in the Zambezi Gas case saying all debts incurred before February 22, 2019, should be paid in local currency at a 1:1 rate with the US dollar, Lunat saw an opportunity but Patel refused to accept payment in Zimbabwean currency.

He then took the matter up with the Supreme Court, forcing the Sheriff to halt the execution of his immovable property while awaiting a ruling, Lunat told the judicial commission, adding the Sheriff then pressed ahead with the sale on March 12, 2021, after being threatened by Patel's lawyers.

"On the 11th of March 2021, I filed an urgent chamber application to interdict Patel from disposing of my immovables held in execution of judgment on the basis that the very question whether after my payment Patel could have my movables disposed by auction sale or otherwise, was a matter for determination by the Supreme Court," he said.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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