RAY Goba, whose name had been prematurely gazetted as the prosecutor general designate, will not be sworn in to the post after dramatic intervention by the Namibian government, The Standard can reveal.
By Staff Reporter
Goba was acting prosecutor general, before an entry by Cabinet secretary Misheck Sibanda in the Government Gazette two weeks ago announced his controversial appointment.
But as The Standard previously reported, it emerged that Sibanda had “jumped the gun” by rushing the announcement before a procedural vetting by the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Goba himself has since jumped the gun and is said to be now signing off official documents and court indicts as “prosecutor general” even though he is yet to receive a letter of appointment and has not been sworn-in.
Legal experts say this might open Goba to legal trouble because Section 259(6) of the Constitution makes it mandatory that “Before taking office, the prosecutor general must take, before the president, the oath of office in the form set out in the Third Schedule”.
Questions about Goba’s fitness to hold office have dogged his stint as acting prosecutor general after it emerged that he was convicted of drunk driving in Namibia, where he was the deputy prosecutor general.
Goba has persistently dismissed his conviction in Namibia, stating on various occasions, including in public interviews conducted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), that his conviction in Namibia “arose out of a minor road traffic offence”.
He claimed Namibian authorities “did not consider it serious”.
Goba was one of seven candidates who were subjected to public interviews for the job that became vacant after the dismissal of Johannes Tomana.
The others — from which the JSC picked three names which were then forwarded to President Robert Mugabe — were Florence Ziyambi, Charles Chinyama, Wilson Manase, Peter Mafunda, Tecler Mapota and Misheck Hogwe.
Last week, Zimbabwe sought and received an advisory note from the Namibians,which revealed just how seriously they viewed Goba’s conviction, Justice ministry sources confirmed.
In the note, the Namibians said while drunk driving was a grave enough charge for one in his position, it was Goba’s actions afterwards that made him unfit to hold the office.
“In their view, Goba does not meet the ‘fit and proper’ test to be the country’s top prosecutor,” one official said, asking not to be named as he was not cleared to speak to the media.
The Namibians said it was Goba’s conviction for attempting to defeat the course of justice that called into question his fitness for the job.
Goba was arrested at 2:15am on February 12 2000, by traffic police officers after he turned right into a one-way street, opposing traffic.
Having been arrested, court documents showed, he “knowingly tried to avoid the taking of a specimen of his blood within the statutory period of two hours by (a) refusing to furnish the law enforcement officers with the cellphone or telephone number of his legal representative before the specimen was taken; (b) attempting to escape while being transported in lawful custody to the hospital for the specimen to be taken; (c) attempting to escape from lawful custody at the hospital before the specimen was taken; (d) attempting by threats to intimidate the law enforcement officers not to investigate the alleged offence against him; and (e) refusing to submit to the taking of a blood specimen by the doctor when requested to do so.”
The Namibians later refused to renew his work permit and turned down his application for permanent residency.
Mugabe is now set to make a decision on how to fill the vacant post.
Legal experts say if he considers that none of the persons on the list on which Goba had been recommended are suitable for appointment, he must ask the JSC to submit a further list of three names in terms of Section 180(3) of the Constitution.