Gula-Ndebele enquiry opens

HARARE - Zimbabwe on Monday began an inquiry into the conduct of the country's Attorney General (AG) Sobuza Gula-Ndebele suspended by President Robert Mugabe last November for allegedly abusing his office.

Harare advocate Happias Zhou, representing the AG, said the hearing, being heard in camera on Mugabe’s instructions, was postponed to February 11 when state witnesses will testify against Gula-Ndebele, who as AG is the government’s chief legal adviser and an ex-officio member of Cabinet.

The three-man tribunal inquiring into the conduct of Gula-Ndebele will advise whether he should be removed from office. High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu is chairing the tribunal. Justice Samuel Kudya and Harare lawyer Lloyd Mhishi are the other members of the committee.

Gula-Ndebele was last October briefly detained by the police and charged for conduct inconsistent with the duties of a public officer after he allegedly met a fugitive former bank executive, James Mushore.

Mushore, a former deputy managing director at National Merchant Bank (NMB), fled to Britain in 2004 at the height of a Zimbabwean banking crisis that saw several finance houses shut down by the country’s central bank. He was arrested in October upon his return to Zimbabwe.

Police, who are separately investigating Gula-Ndebele, say he promised Mushore he would not be arrested if he returned to Zimbabwe. The Attorney General denies the charge.

Speculation is widespread in Harare that Gula-Ndebele, considered among the more liberal minds in the government, is being punished for aligning himself with a faction of the ruling Zanu (PF) party led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru that unsuccessfully tried to stop Mugabe standing for re-election in elections in March. – ZimOnline

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