Judge tells of farm bribe to shut down News

A Zimbabwean judge claims he was offered a farm if he upheld the decision to close down Zimbabwe’s most popular independent newspaper, the Daily News.

Michael Majuru, who has since fled Zimbabwe, said he was put under pressure to throw out an appeal by Daily News publisher ANZ against a ban instituted by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s government.

In an interview with ZWNEWS.com, the judge said he was approached by a businessman with links to the government: “He asked me whether I had a farm and when I responded in the negative he said he could organise a farm for me and that the government had promised to provide me with inputs and money to finance the venture.

“But this would be on condition that I ruled in favour of the Media and Information Commission. I told him that I could not discuss the issue of the Daily News with him as this would be unethical.

“But he persisted, saying that he had a lot of influence and that the government had already identified a farm that was complete with a farmhouse and equipment for me. I refused his offer.”

Majuru had been presiding over one of the numerous cases involving the ANZ, which has appealed several times against government orders that it be shut down.

He discharged himself after being accused of “unprofessional conduct” and the case was given to another judge. Fearing his family would be harmed, he left Zimbabwe.

 A Zimbabwean court last week upheld the media commission’s decision to shut down The Tribune weekly newspaper.

By Jon Slattery

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