Monday 18 March 2024


The trial of gospel musician Ivy Kombo and her husband Admire Andy Kasi who are accused of acquiring conversion certificates fraudulently in order to practice law in Zimbabwe continued yesterday with the State leading another witness who disowned the documentation the couple tried to use.

The pair is being jointly charged with the suspended Council for Legal Education (CLE) executive secretary Hardwork Huggins Duri. They were trained in law outside Zimbabwe.

There is a laid down procedure that lawyers who go through university outside Zimbabwe have to convert to Zimbabwean law before they can practice without supervision in Zimbabwe. They have to take extra examinations to add the local content to their training in legal principles. In some cases they can be exempted from some, although not all, the eight examinations, depending on what their university taught.

Kombo and Kasi are accused of acquiring the certificates fraudulently without writing the exams.

In his evidence in chief, CLE Board of Examinations chairperson Mr Vulindlela Bongani Sibanda told the court that he joined CLE in 2021.

According to the records at his office Kombo in 2019 applied for a designation with CLE with intention to be allowed to write exams. He said he blindly trusted Duri to an extent that he would sign the certificates without verifying with the final list of students who passed exams.

Mr Sibanda said he was merely a victim of misrepresentation of Duri and that was why he signed certificates that are fraudulent.

According to their records, Kombo’s file only contains the application with no other documentation to prove that she was exempted from writing the conversions or that she sat for exams.  “She has her certificate which states that she had written and passed exams but that is not true because she never sat for the exams neither was she exempted.

He added that her name was never on the list of students whose applications were tabled before the council to be considered for exemption in July 2022.

“What I find strange from my dealings with ZACC is that Kombo said she was exempted because she holds a master degree in law but we do not exempt anybody in full as in all the eight subjects. Most students from South Africa are the ones that are exempted from writing Common Law 1 and 2 exams.

“Kombo’s filed an affidavit deposed to the High Court she states that she wrote exams and passed which is contradictory to her defence. Whoever told her that she had been exempted of all subjects she lied to her,” he said.

Mr Sibanda said the story was the same with Kasi except that he did not even apply at CLE. The trial continues this Thursday before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka.

During cross examination by lawyers of the defence counsel Mr Sibanda was asked to comment on letters of confirmation that the two had been exempted from writing all the eight subjects and should pay the fees of US$560.

He acknowledged that the features on the letter looks like theirs but rejected the authenticity in which the CLE president Justice Sylvia signature is appended on the document.

Mr Sibanda also disowned the alleged receipt of fees payments purported to have been received by CLE accountant Mr Zimba saying they did not have such type of a receipt.

 He said Duri was the custodian of the certificates as he is the one who would send the list to Fidelity Printers for printing, give Sibanda the certificates for signing and then take them to the judge for signing again before they are given to the deserving candidates.

Mr Sibanda also acknowledged that he did not have direct evidence against Kombo and Kasi that they connived with Duri to produce the fraudulent certificates.

He also did not deny that there was a possibility that Kasi could have applied with CLE and that information could have been tampered with but since the application was allegedly made before he joined CLE.

The trial continues this Thursday before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka.

Appearing for the State is Mr Anesu Chirenje while the defense counsel comprises of Mr Everson Chatambudza, Mr Admire Rubaya and Mr Oliver Marwa. Herald


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