HARARE – Harare magistrate Morgan Nemadire has been arrested and charged with corruption after freeing a Venezuelan drug mule with just a Z$700 fine.
Nemadire gave the lenient fine in October this year to Delcy Daymar Rodriguez Guerrero, who had been found with 5kg of cocaine worth US$500,000.
Government spokesman Ndavaningi Mangwana said: “The magistrate has now been arrested and charged with criminal abuse of public office (corruption).”
Special Anti-Corruption Unit head Thabani Mpofu earlier told the media that the magistrate was under investigation.
“We have since instructed the police to look into the matter and effect an arrest as we believe there is a strong case of corruption there. There have been delays, but an arrest has to be made,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu wrote to the police arguing that the ruling by the magistrate had “grave implications on the integrity of our entire criminal justice system and the well-being of the economy.”
“The sentence passed by Nemadire on Guerrero amounts to an act of corruption. For that reason, the Prosecutor General has directed that a formal complaint of corruption be lodged with the police against Nemadire for contravening Section 174 of the Code,” Mpofu wrote.
The sentence was largely seen as light given that some convicts have served up to three years for possession of less than Z$10 worth of drugs.
The courts in 2018 sentenced a Mbare woman, Veronica Matongo, to 15 years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of 2.3kg of cocaine with a street value of US$185,464 while another Peruvian drug trafficker found in possession of 1kg of cocaine worth US$91,520 on the streets was also sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in December 2018.
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