AG’s Office Transfers top law Officer Mugabe

CHIEF law officer Michael Mugabe, who has been handling high-profile cases including that of MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett, has been transferred to Mutare amid reports of rising tensions between law officers and the director of public prosecutions.

Mugabe, who represented the state in the Bennett case before the case was taken over by the Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and the director of public prosecutions, Florence Ziyambi, is the second senior law officer to be transferred out of Harare in the last three weeks.

Jonathan Murombedzi was transferred at the end of November to Marondera under unclear circumstances.
Mugabe remains chief law officer while in Mutare, where he was moved to on Monday last week.

Sources in the AG’s office believe that Mugabe’s transfer was because of the clashes he allegedly had with Ziyambi.

“These were personal and not professional conflicts,” said a source. “Things have not been going on well here and morale has gone down.”

Chris Mutangadura was appointed acting chief law officer, replacing Mugabe.

However, this has raised eyebrows in the AG’s office because he is regarded as being relatively junior, after having recently graduated from the University of Zimbabwe’s law school.

Mutangadura’s appointment reflects the underlying skills flight in the AG’s office. Experienced law officers have left the AG’s office, citing poor working conditions while young graduates from the University of Zimbabwe who might have been recruited are also opting for private practice.

“The situation has been deteriorating in the past few months and the AG’s office is now manned by inexperienced staff as well as police prosecutors,” said the source, adding that the police officers had to deal with cases in the High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

Usually, the AG’s office takes in graduates from the University of Zimbabwe and other approved law schools, as well as those from the Judicial College.

When asked for comment on Wednesday, Tomana referred the Independent to the administration department at the AG’s office, who in turn referred the matter back to the Attorney-General saying he was the only authorised person to comment.

Sources said the absence of a Deputy Attorney-General (Criminal) was also hampering work at the office and Ziyambi has had to carry out those duties.

 

Staff Writer

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