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Bid to Bribe High Court Judge, Prosecutor Backfires

Former Chitungwiza Municipality chamber secretary, Priscila Vengesai, 37, allegedly tried to bribe a High Court judge with an undisclosed amount of money, it has emerged.

She once made headlines after approaching the courts challenging the constitutionality of the practice of paying lobola.

On Wednesday Vengesayi was hauled before Harare magistrate, Hosea Mujaya but the trial failed to kick off after her lawyer Admire Rubaya failed to turn up.

Prosecuting, Constance Ngombengombe told court the defence lawyer no longer wanted to represent the accused, but this was denied by Vengesai.

According to court papers, Vengesai tried to bribe Justice Felistus Chatukuta.

Chatukuta reportedly recorded the conversation before reporting the matter to the police.

She had presided over a case involving Avondale Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and TM Supermarkets (Pvt) Ltd and ruled in favour of Avondale Holdings.

It is alleged Vengesai then approached Chatukuta in her chambers.

She reportedly offered her cash which was in an envelope saying it was a token of appreciation from Avondale Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.

The High Court Judge is said to have turned the offer down.

A docket was prepared against Vengesai who was charged with bribery before it was taken to the magistrate’s court for vetting and setting of a trial date.

Vengesai, who is out of custody, then got information that Prosecutor Michael Reza was the one dealing with her case.

Prosecutor offered $1,000

She reportedly approached Reza in his office and again offered him $1,000 for him to decline prosecution, the court heard.

As she was offering the money, Reza started recording the conversation before alerting the police who rushed to his office and caught Vengesai red handed while handing over the cash to him.

Meanwhile prosecutors say the approach to Justice Chitukuta followed the latter’s visit to Chitungwiza municipality to process a relative’s papers in May 2014.

She approached Vengesai for assistance and the reportedly pair exchanged phone numbers.

She later booked an appointment on June 26 before proceeding to Chatukuta’s chambers.

Vengesai, the State alleged, told Chatukuta that she had been sent by the owners of Avondale Holdings (Pvt) Ltd to deliver a token of appreciation for the favourable judgment.

She took out a khaki envelope from her hand bag which had cash and tried to hand it over to Chatukuta.

The judge refused to accept the cash and expressed her displeasure about Vengesai’s conduct.

She then recorded their conversation before making a report to the police, it is alleged.

The case was remanded to August 15 for trial commencement.

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