Thabani Mpofu released on bail
4 June 2020

Thabani Mpofu released on bail

Zimbabwe

It has been reported by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that Zimbabwean lawyer Thabani Mpofu has been released on $20.000 bail by the Harare Magistrates Court on 3 June 2020, after he was arrested on 1 June.

In a statement, the ZHLR reported about the fact that the Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested, charged and detained lawyer Thabani Mpofu on the 1st of June 2020. Mr. Mpofu was informed that eleven armed officers had visited his place of residence on 31 May 2020 searching for him. Since then, Mr. Mpofu has been charged with allegations of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

One of the allegations against Mr. Mpofu is that he drafted an affidavit on behalf of a person who is said not to exist. The allegation also claims that the affidavit was not sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths. Supposedly, after that, the affidavit was filed at the Constitutional Court in a matter challenging the appointment of the Prosecutor General. It has been said the Mr. Mpofu filed a second Constitutional Court application after comprehending that the first application would fail. It has been said that Mr. Mpofu used his second application to stop an enquiry into existence of the person of whom it was claimed did not exist,  thereby defeating the judicial proceedings.

After Mr. Mpofu presented himself at the police station in the presence of his lawyer, he was arrested. The ZHLR denounced the arrest of Mr. Mpofu and noted that: ‘’the court application mentioned in the allegations (…) is still pending at the Constitutional Court and the court has not provided a judgement in the case’’. The arrest of Mr. Mpofu was labeled by the ZHLR as an attack on the legal profession and amounted to associating a lawyer with the cause of his or her client. It is also a systematic form of intimidation and harrasment of lawyers perceived to advance the causes of clients who are opposed to the government of the day.

On 2 June, The Zimbabwe Republic Police added another charge against Mr. Mpofu. The allegations against him with regards to this charge is that he concealed a transaction from another law firm in 2017.

Consequently, on 3 June Mr. Mpofu appeared in court. His team of lawyers were able to get him released on bail. However, the charges against him are still standing. Moreover, Mr. Mpofu will have to report at the police once a week and has to appear in court again on 10 July 2020.

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