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Zimbabwe attorney general suspended during corruption probe

[JURIST] Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has suspended the country's attorney general on charges of corruption and established a three-person tribunal to investigate the charges. Officials charged [JURIST report] Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele in November with acting contrary to or inconsistent with his duty as a public officer in violation of section 174 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act [text, PDF]. Gula-Ndebele is said to have met with fugitive former banking executive James Mushore while Mushore was on the Zimbabwean police's wanted list, informing him that he would not be arrested if he returned to the country. The meeting was apparently held without the government's knowledge or permission. The investigatory tribunal, which includes two justices and a lawyer, will investigate the situation and will then recommend whether Gula-Ndebele should remain in office. The president can revoke the suspension based on the tribunal's recommendation; otherwise, Gula-Ndebele could face a fine or up to 15 years in prison.

Mushore was on the police's wanted list from 2004 until his October arrest on suspicion of violating hard currency exchange regulations. Banks, including the country's central bank, have admitted buying hard currency, which is valued at $1 USD to 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars, at black market rates - $1 USD to 2 million Zimbabwe dollars - to help pay off the country's expenses. Political analysts have suggested the charges against Gula-Ndebele are politically motivated because of his refusal to sanction some politically related state prosecutions and because of his reported conflict with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa concerning the reported plans by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Justice to decrease the power of the attorney general's office. AP has more. The Harere Herald has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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